The production delay of the Reva NXR – aka the next-gen G-Wiz electric car – is taking place because the Indian company is listening to its customers. Keith Johnston, Reva's president of European operations, told AutoblogGreen that feedback from the Frankfurt Motor Show, where the car's price (9,995 euros for the lead acid version with leased batteries) was announced and a subsequent road show through five European countries and other projects (e.g., the partnership with General Motors) convinced Reva to delay the vehicle by about a year. Pilot production for the 65 mile-per-hour top speed electric car is now scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first customer deliveries will take place in early 2011. Exactly what will change based on the feedback is not clear, but Johnston said, " We decided that there were simply too many good lessons to ignore." Aside for the extra time this gives Reva to get things right, Johnston said that there will be more charging stations and recharging options a year from now, so "the delay actually has some benefits to our customers." Reva has said it would refund the 500-euro deposits the early handraisers had sent in, but Johnston told us that the refund rate has been very "relaxed." Read his full statement after the jump.
Full statement from Reva:
REVA NXR pilot production is rescheduled for Q4 2010 and customer shipments for early 2011. This decision was taken as a result of feedback from the Frankfurt Motor Show when we premiered the NXR, followed by a five country road show in Europe (Norway, France, Germany, Austria and Hungary), a fifty car, six month lithium-ion and telematics pilot programme with our REVA L-ion model and a winter testing programme in Sweden. We are also learning from our collaboration with General Motors in India on the Chevrolet e-Spark electrification programme and from our existing fleet of 3,500 vehicles. By next month we will have acquired 100,000,000 km of customer drive data and more than one million km of li-ion battery test data. We decided that there were simply too many good lessons to ignore.
The NXR is our first M1 car and it will be launched in 25 countries. It is a step up from our current REVAi (G-Wiz i in the UK) quadricycle model, so we are trying very hard to listen and to learn as we go. Fortunately, we have a healthy order book from the REVAi which enables us to make improvements to the NXR rather than rush out the new model. We have taken the decision to offer to return NXR deposits to customers because we think that's only fair and have been pleasantly surprised by the relaxed response. From the emails I have seen, most of our customers respect that we have good reasons for a delay and are prepared to keep their place at the front of the queue rather than take their money back.
The delay actually has some benefits to our customers as there will be widespread subsidies available in 2011; the UK is a good example of this, but we are also anticipating announcements in several other countries later this year. In addition there will be more charging infrastructure projects live by then and as other manufacturers begin their sales and marketing campaigns there will be greater awareness and momentum in the market place. We believe that with our price advantage, REVA will be able to offer customers an affordable electric car with the latest technology and that overall demand for electric cars will be strong once people experience for themselves the joy of driving electric.