GM to Develop New India Electric Car, Ends Reva Deal

General Motors vehicles
General Motors vehicles sit on display at Bobby Murray Chevrolet dealership in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photographer: Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. will develop an electric vehicle for India after scrapping a venture to make battery-powered compact models with Reva Electric Car Co.

The carmaker will use technology developed in Detroit, Karl Slym, the head of its local unit, told reporters on a conference call today. It will also consider selling the Chevrolet Volt in India after the model debuts in November, he said.

GM ended its partnership after Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., India’s largest sport-utility vehicle maker, agreed to buy a 55 percent stake in closely held Reva. Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co. also today announced a tie-up with Daimler AG to develop electric cars in China as growing environmental concerns spur demand for alternative-energy autos.

GM won’t start sales of the electric version of its Spark small car in India by the end of this year as earlier planned, Slym said. He didn’t give a new timeframe for introducing battery-powered vehicles in the country.

Mahindra will buy stock in Reva from the carmaker’s founders and spend about $10 million on new shares, it said in a Bombay Stock Exchange statement yesterday. It didn’t give an overall value for the transaction.

Mahindra gained 2.2 percent to 528.45 rupees at the close of trading in Mumbai today. The stock has fallen 2.2 percent this year, compared with the Sensex Index’s 4.6 percent decline. The carmaker’s Xylo and Scorpio models compete with GM’s Tavera utility vehicle and Captiva SUVs in India.

Reva Sales

Reva is offering autos in 24 countries and has sold more than 3,500 vehicles worldwide, according to the statement. The company is building a plant in the southern Indian state of Karnataka to make as many as 30,000 vehicles a year.

The company intends to begin selling the lithium-ion-powered Reva NXR as early as October, Maini said in January. The car will cost about 14,995 euros ($18,500) in Europe, the automaker said last year. The three-door, four-seat hatchback has a top speed of 104 kilometers (65 miles) per hour and a range of 160 kilometers (100 miles) per charge.

Automakers are set to introduce 42 electric models worldwide by 2012, according to an October study by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Nissan Motor Co. plans to sell 500,000 electric cars a year by 2012.

To contact the reporter on the story: Subramaniam Sharma in New Delhi at ssharma@bloomberg.net; Vipin V. Nair in Mumbai at Vnair12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net