How freaked out would you be if you received a call from your car company telling you that a part in your car is about to collapse and that they would replace it free of cost?
You'd be spooked. Just like one of Mahindra Reva's customers.
In December 2013, the customer care team at Mahindra Reva caught a customer off-guard when they called him to inform that a certain part in his car was showing signs of failure.
"We reached out to the customer and offered to replace the part free of cost. He was bewildered and refused to replace the part as he was not exactly experiencing any problem," says Kartik Gopal, GM-Mobility Solutions and Business Development, Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles.
Two days later, the part breathed its last. And Mahindra Reva had already detected this. So, when the customer got in touch with the company, it had already ensured that the part to be replaced was ready and delivered in no time—at no additional cost.
That kind of magic rarely happens. That's because not many companies have the guts to play with ideas of the future. Mahindra Reva isn't one of them. For the first time in India, the company built a car that can talk to its owner, thanks to a telematics-based vehicle monitoring system.
Telematics is an integrated use of telecommunications and informatics, also known as ICT (information and communications technology). The system—implemented in the company's latest offering Mahindra e2o—can help the company resolve firmware or software issues in the car remotely, among other things.
Using telematics and mobility, the team at Reva has created India's first car that can be controlled via a smartphone app. The app can help customers keep a tab on the general health and performance of a car, can control in-car features like AC. It can also send timely alerts to customers about damaged parts.
"At Mahindra Reva, we have been trying to create a car that's environment-friendly and also bonds with our customers," says Gopal.In the quest to build India's first intelligent car, Gopal and the team at Mahindra Reva have traversed unknown territories, and have taken the road less travelled.
Behind the Wheels
The REVA Electric Car Company (RECC) was founded in 1994 and launched as a joint venture between the Maini Group of Bangalore and AEV LLC of USA. In May 2010, India's largest SUV and tractors manufacturer, Mahindra & Mahindra, bought a 55.2 percent controlling stake in Reva.
RECC launched its first car, the two-seater REVA in India in 2001. Few know that the same car, branded G-Wiz, was launched in Europe in 2004. In 2009, the company launched a new concept model called The REVA NXR M1 class electric concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The company was looking at experimenting with more innovative technology to improve the functionality and the usability of the car.
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