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Old 1st April 2013, 11:08   #1
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Default Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-32.jpg

The Mahindra e2o is available in Delhi for Rs.6.24 lakhs OTR. This includes a subsidy from the Delhi government. Elsewhere in the country, Mahindra has priced the e2o at Rs.7.73 lakhs ex-showroom. A central government subsidy is expected to be rolled out in a few months for the rest of the country, but the details are not available at present.

What you'll like:

• The novelty factor
• Zero emissions
• Minimal running & service costs
• Spacious enough for 4 persons
• Adequate pickup and power to keep up with city traffic
• No gears to shift
• Small footprint with great maneuverability
• 'Future of Mobility Services' (FOMS) offered as a part of the package

What you won't:

• Limited driving distance of 80-100 km on a single charge. Takes 5 hours to recharge fully
• Below-par fit and finish of the ABS body panels & interiors
• Just 2 doors
• Quirky rear end styling
• Not very quick from a standing start with 4 persons on board. Top speed rated to be 81 km/h
• Vague steering feel
• Regenerative braking takes some getting used to
• Frightful cost of battery replacement when the time comes

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 1st April 2013 at 11:13.
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Old 1st April 2013, 11:38   #2
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-15.jpg

Dimensions

Length: 3280 mm
Width: 1514 mm
Height: 1560 mm
Ground clearance: 180 mm
Turning radius: 3.9 m
Kerb weight: 830 kg

Colours available
: 6.
Arctic silver, coral blue, eco green, oceanic white, Spanish red and sunfire yellow.

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-30.jpg

Technical specifications
The e2o is powered by a 3-phase induction motor rated at 19 kW @ 3750 rpm, and 53 N-m of torque from 0-3400 rpm. The power is delivered to the rear wheels. A 48V maintenance-free Li-ion battery pack supplies the motor. The life of the battery pack is expected to be 5 years, and is said to cost about Rs.1.6 lakhs to replace at current prices, but it is anticipated that Li-ion batteries would be cheaper to produce after 5 years!

The steering is a rack-and-pinion system without power assist. The front suspension rides on McPherson struts, and the rear is an independent suspension system on coil springs. Shock absorbers are gas filled.

Brakes are non-boosted hydraulic, with 215 mm discs in front and 180 mm drums at the rear. Gently depressing the brake pedal at speed produces regenerative braking, with a green display on the infotainment system notifying the same. Further pressure brings the hydraulics into action, with a sharp braking effect.

Tyres are 155/70R-13 tubeless, which are more than adequate, considering the speeds this vehicle is capable of. It would certainly not be a good idea to consider upsizing tyres on the e2o!

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 1st April 2013 at 13:42.
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Old 1st April 2013, 12:11   #3
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Exteriors

Paint quality is nice and glossy (but then it's not painted, but colour-impregnated plastic), but the ABS panels are not quite smooth and flat as sheet metal. Large & uneven gaps exist between the panels. I was told that the panel fit quality will improve, since this is an early production model.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-17.jpg


The luggage space and a look inside the bonnet


Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-28.jpg

The luggage space at the rear is not too spacious; the boot (with only the glass hatch opening upwards) can nevertheless accommodate a couple of small bags or a single medium sized suitcase.

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-31.jpg

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-dsc00665.jpg

At the right-hand lower corner of the hatch is the plug-in point for the charger cable. The illumination to help plug in easily at night is a nice touch. Once the cable is plugged in, the hatch closes over the plug, and the cable cannot be pulled out.

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-29.jpg
The bonnet houses the spare tyre, jack, windscreen washer bottle, brake master cylinder, fuse box etc.

The interiors, and starting up

Despite the doors opening wide and with the left front seat folded forward, it is a bit of a struggle to get into the rear seat. However, getting into the front seats is quite easy, and I did not feel cramped for space while getting in or while seated.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-24.jpg


Even the rear seats have plenty of knee and shoulder room.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-3.jpg

The 'key' is actually a keyless remote, which needs to be touched to the start-stop button to turn on the electricals, indicated by the sensuous blue multi-information dial coming alive. No noise, except the whirr of the air-conditioning fan.

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-1.jpg

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-5.jpg

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-26.jpg

The display console shows battery charge state, DTE, speed in digital as well as analogue form (a white bar across the top of the dial progressively moves to the right as speed increases), the efficiency at which the motor is running, and the gear the car is slotted into.

The air-conditioner is quite efficient, and cools equally well when stopped, unlike IC-engined cars where the compressor rpm drops off with the engine idling. In fact, on the rare summer nights when there is a power outage and you need to sleep in the car, the AC can keep you cool for 6-7 hours when running with the car at standstill!
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-16.jpg

The gear shift has 4 positions - R for reverse, N (neutral), F (forward) and B for Boost. Under normal driving, F is adequate. B can be used for some extra-quick acceleration or climbing really steep slopes when fully loaded - but tends to drain the battery faster.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-20.jpg

The footwell has adequate space for size-11 shoes, with a handy dead pedal for the left foot, and just the A & B pedals.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-8.jpg

The infotainment system with 6.2" touchscreen has an inbuilt GPS navigation system with waypoints fed in for about 70 charging stations in Delhi, where the vehicle can be charged free of cost at present.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-22.jpg

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-18.jpg

It also displays the video feed from the reversing camera, as well as plays your music from an iPod, USB thumb drive or sdcard. You can also connect your phone via bluetooth to the car's speaker system. The sound is surprisingly good.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-14.jpg

The reversing camera is located above the rear number plate.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-2.jpg

The iPod and USB ports as well as the 12v charger socket are ahead of the gearshift lever.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-6.jpg

Both doors get electrically operated windows, with the switches located in the centre console, Scorpio-style.
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-12.jpg

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 1st April 2013 at 17:07.
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Old 1st April 2013, 13:06   #4
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

First drive impressions

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-13.jpg

Driving position and seating support quality is good for the short hauls that this car is intended to be used for. Passengers in the rear seat did not complain of any acute discomfort either, and the AC was adequate even for the rear seat.

The e2o has no engine noise, and pulls away from a dead stop as soon as you press the A-pedal - a bit like driving a big golf cart rather than a car. It can accelerate seamlessly upto 60 km/h to keep up with fast-moving Delhi city traffic comfortably even with 4 people on board, and climbs flyovers equally effortlessly. For quick overtaking, you need to shift the gear lever to Boost mode, but the resultant acceleration even with the A-pedal to the floor is not really striking, just about adequate.

It is a little disconcerting to drive the e2o among pedestrian traffic. Without any engine noise, coming up behind a wayward pedestrian means he has no clue that you are there. A quick beep of the horn makes him jump out of his skin as a result. Should be great fun to do this on April 1 each year!

The steering has an extremely vague feel to it at speeds, which may be due to a large part of the weight of the car being towards the rear (the motor and battery pack). Constant inputs are required at the steering to make straight-line progress - the automatic centering effect seems not to be there! Turning circle is very compact though, and this car ought to outperform anything else on 4 wheels when negotiating the alleys of Varanasi!

Regenerative braking occurs with light pressure on the B-pedal, but releasing the pedal does not free up the car again - you need A-pedal input to stop the retardation force.

No gears to shift while driving - that is certainly a pleasure. There is no automatic gearbox though, and no oil changes to perform every once in a while. Mahindra recommends a once-a-year service interval, which can be performed at your doorstep.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 1st April 2013 at 18:20.
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Old 1st April 2013, 13:39   #5
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

The interesting aspects and features of buying/owning an e2o

• Mahindra offers a home-based solar charger which can be installed on the rooftop, and will charge the e2o in about 8 hours. Costs a whopping Rs. 1.5 lakhs. Given that the expected electricity bill would be Rs.1500 per month if the car is driven 80 km every day, the time taken to recover the cost of the solar charger would be 8 years or more. A roof-mounted (canopy type) solar panel for the vehicle is in the offing, but no information yet about when it would be available or what it should cost.

• Mahindra's Future of Mobility Services (FOMS) comes as a part of the package when you buy an e2o. With about 15 services included, it is expected to enhance the ownership experience greatly.

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-foms1.jpg

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-foms2.jpg

• Hill hold feature prevents the car from rolling backwards on a slope.

• Projector headlamps provided, albeit without xenon HID bulbs.

• The ICE comprises 4 JBL speakers and 2 tweeters.

• ORVMs are electrically operated. 2 wipers operating in a scissors pattern are provided, unlike the Nano's cost-cutting single wiper. There's even a rear defogger.

• ISOFIX child seat mounts with ALR rear seat belts are provided.

• The car cannot be shifted into forward or reverse gears when charging.

Disclaimer: This is not an official Team-BHP test drive.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 1st April 2013 at 13:45.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 15:40   #6
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Testdrives Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd April 2013, 15:52   #7
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Very nice first-drive report SS!

Interesting to hear that you liked the audio system. I had a feeling there was something wrong with the speakers on our car (absolutely no bass and very weak mids).

Our Official Review on the e2o should be up before the end of the week, and should be able to fill in some gaps regarding real-world range (since we had the car for 3 days) and a few other things you'll be interested to discover.

cya
R

PS - The e2o does in fact have a brake booster.

Last edited by Rehaan : 2nd April 2013 at 16:07.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 16:21   #8
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

This is an interesting and exciting car, but I'm afraid it looks horrible exterior wise and looks cheap overall. The REVA's 4lakh price would have suited this better.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 16:37   #9
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Thanks for the review SS! It's a great working concept but whose time is yet to come.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 17:30   #10
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Interesting to hear that you liked the audio system. I had a feeling there was something wrong with the speakers on our car (absolutely no bass and very weak mids).
Perhaps. But then, the car I tested also had a strange beeping in the background related to some software error.
Quote:
Our Official Review on the e2o should be up before the end of the week, and should be able to fill in some gaps regarding real-world range (since we had the car for 3 days) and a few other things you'll be interested to discover.
Will look forward to it. I had the car for about half an hour.
Quote:
PS - The e2o does in fact have a brake booster.
Didn't notice one, at least nothing that looked vacuum operated. Would be interesting to look at what kind of boosting has been used.
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Old 2nd April 2013, 18:46   #11
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Technical specifications

Brakes are non-boosted hydraulic, with 215 mm discs in front and 180 mm drums at the rear.
Hi SS_Traveller,
Thanks for sharing your experience and posting a review.
I would like to clarify this, The brake system is vacuum booster assisted hydraulic. Many of us would be aware that vacuum for the booster operation is available from the inatke manifold in a petrol engine & an engine operated vacuum pump (driven by the camshaft like in Fiat Multijet or placed behind the alternator like in a Tata Sumo). As there is no engine here, an electric vacuum pump is used. You should be able to hear the pump coming into operation when you depress the brake pedal fully a couple of times.
The part circled in red in the attached picture is the Vacuum pump, For now it is supplied by Hella.
Attached Thumbnails
Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o2029.jpg  

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Old 2nd April 2013, 21:18   #12
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
[u][b]Exteriors

[left]The display console shows battery charge state, DTE, speed in digital as well as analogue form (a white bar across the top of the dial progressively moves to the right as speed increases), the efficiency at which the motor is running, and the gear the car is slotted into.
How is the touch interface? Is it capacitive and smooth?
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Old 2nd April 2013, 22:18   #13
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Multiple free charging points in Delhi is a good news.

But how many charging points are available in other cities?

The idea of having a maintenance free car is awesome, but the battery replacement cost of approximately 1.5 Lakhs every 5 years is a huge bill.
If Government really wants people to turn towards greener cars, they should provide some subsidy for batteries in this scenario.

Would I be right in assuming that the battery life will reduce even if the vehicle is not used?
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Old 2nd April 2013, 22:55   #14
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Thanks for the review SS-Traveller.

I am mighty impressed with the e2o, other than some finicky bits here and there its a brilliant package. The HU has really caught my attention.
Also certain novelty features such as projector headlamps, reversing camera etc are a great touch. It shows that mahindra has actually given this car a serious thought. Also the fact that there are free charging slots all around Delhi is a testament to this fact

I do hope the e2o all the success, however that largely depends on the central government providing enough subsidies.

P.S. I suppose this is the same e2o, sharing a few pics :-

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o.jpg

Mahindra e2o : First Drive-e2o-2.jpg

Last edited by Enigmatic : 2nd April 2013 at 22:56.
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Old 3rd April 2013, 09:42   #15
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Default Re: Mahindra e2o : First Drive

Great Review, SS! The car is a good attempt and also has some unprecedented features such as Revive, Sun2Car and the fact that it doesn't need to go to a service center at all! But still things such as the panel fitment should be improved. This is a proof that even Indian automotive manufacturers are taking steps in the right direction for a sustainable future. But it all boils down to the consumers. If the consumers don't accept the product, then it is all in vain. This is a different car and thus needs to be seen with a different perspective all together. Sadly there are no truly comparable vehicles in this niche which in turn pips the car in front of the petrol or diesel premium hatchbacks. Lets hope that the mentality of the consumer changes to allow such revolutionary ideas to come up.
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