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Going the green way.

Summary: With the e20, Mahindra Reva has taken the next step towards alternative mobility. We take this green car for a spin.

Remember Noddy? Yes, the likable cartoon character from the American TV series, Make Way for Noddy. If you remember Noddy, you will also remember, he had a little car. So if the creators of Noddy were to give his car a next-gen upgrade, what it would look like? Well, to a great extent it would look like the e2o-the new electric car by Mahindra Reva.

The smart looking car with small dimensions is perfect as a city runabout. Walking around the car doesn't take long, nor does it take any longer to spot the gaps in the plastic panels. Getting into the driver's seat through the largish door is pretty straightforward.

And straight in front of you is a simple dash with an all-digital instrument cluster, which gives readouts for anything and everything you want to know about the car. The audio system is a complete info panel in itself that tells you about audio, video, sat-nav, car data and even the life saving 'revive' command that releases reserve charge from the battery pack.

The same operation can be carried out through a mobile phone using an app that allows users to execute complex commands like vehicle locking, air-con operation and car-to-car communication. The inside, despite its diminutive dimension is quite spacious. While getting into the front seat is a breeze, to occupy the rear seats one has to just flick a knob and the front passenger seat slides forward.

To get the e20 moving slot the gear into 'F' mode like one does in an automatic and gently squeeze the throttle. The electric motor might not be remarkably quick but it keeps up with traffic. And to aid in overtaking shift the gear stick to 'B' mode for additional boost that improves the acceleration and top speed, but the charge indicator starts to drop rather quickly. The lithium-ion battery pack, the company claims, gives the e20 a range of 100km on full charge.

On the move the e20 is completely silent barring the faint whir of the electric motor. The lack of sound that people usually associate with internal combustion engines gives an eerie feeling initially. But after a while one gets used to it. In 'B' mode the e20 can attain a claimed top speed of 85kmph, which is quite decent for a car of this kind. Being driven by an electric motor, the entire torque is available right from the start that comes in handy while negotiating through traffic.

The steering feel is direct, but the lack of power assist makes it heavy at low speeds. The suspension is on the softer side that allows it to absorb bumps and road joints comfortably, but there is fair bit of body roll.

Price: Rs. 6.24 lakh (ex showroom Delhi)

Engine: 3 Phase induction motor

Max power: 19kW (25.6bhp)@3,750 rpm

Max torque: 53Nm@0-3,400rpm

Gearbox: Direct drive

Wheelbase (mm): 1,958mm

LxWxH (mm): 3280 x 1514 x 1560

Top Speed: 81kmph

0-100kmph: NA

Tour report

The e20 is a car strictly limited to the city considering its limited range of a maximum of 100km. However it is a car fit for a techie thanks to a mobile phone app which can control various functions of the car namely the AC, charging etc. It also offers a good dollop of features including power windows, sat nav and also keyless entry. However the only downside remains the price which is quite literally on the higher side.

Close up

The interiors look nice but plastics need to be better

The instrument panel is a digital affair. It displays speed, charge left and many more such info.

The central audio system also doubles up as a sat nav. This system can also help revive the car in an emergency

The battery pack sits below the front seats.

Boot space is limited, but with the rear seats down it can take in a fair bit of kit.

Fat Boy Custom

Think of the Fat Boy, and the image that comes to mind is that of Arnold Schwarzenegger chasing a truck down to save a boy in Terminator 2. It also seemed much smaller with Arnold on it. My left wrist hurts and I have a burn on my right thigh, courtesy the new Fat Boy Custom. It has a heavy clutch, and the way the seat is designed with respect to its huge fuel tank, my thighs end up touching the engine's hot valve cover ever so often that I have stopped trying to be careful. But, I am still smiling because the last two days have been a brilliant crash course in instant stardom.

There's nothing significantly new about the Fat Boy for 2013 though, except that it is now being assembled in India, therefore, it is cheaper by nearly Rs. 5 lakh. But, to make our ride worthwhile, Harley decided to give us a souped up Fat Boy; or as they like to call it--a Fat Boy Custom. Visually, the custom made changes include a fancy LED headlamp but average looking rear LEDs. There's also a sissy bar in place, and just in case you tip this beast of a motorcycle over, there's an engine guard in place. It's called Black Mustache. Finally, there's a fancy fuel-filler cap and front fork end sliders. And all of this along with the menacing matt black paint gives our Fat Boy rock star status.

What's even more impressive is the custom job carried out for the powertrain. It's an all-in-one package called Screamin' Eagle Pro TC 103 Stage 4 kit meant for the 1690cc air-cooled V-twin our bike sports. So, we get ported cylinder heads, bigger throttle bodies, high-lift cams and a slightly higher compression. The upgrade also includes new clutch springs, and the Screamin' Eagle performance intake and exhausts. The end result is a discernible improvement in power and torque. Harley's 103 engine was never short on low-end torque, but with these changes, the Fat Boy picks up from as low as 1,700rpm without missing a beat. The noise at lower rpm is now brawnier and more delightful too. The tyres, the chassis and the suspension seem sound enough to handle switchbacks, but the footrests clearly disagree. They ground into the tarmac at even the slightest mention of 'lean.'

The logic behind buying any Harley remains the same--you buy one because you want a bike with presence; one that has the noise, the bulk and the straight line cruising ability to cross countries with. Price: Rs. 17.2 lakh, OTR, Delhi.Reproduced From India Today Travel Plus. Copyright 2013. LMIL. All rights reserved.

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Publication:India Today Travel Plus
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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