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BDO-I2I has been granted the franchise to import the Indian-made electric car, REVA. David Keynan, founder and chief executive of the Indo-Israeli business consulting firm, said that the company has already contracted one of the country's leading car importers to handle the importing. A business agreement with the Indian firm is now being drawn up, and the company expects to announce the projected date for imports to begin within a month.

The electric car is propelled by a battery constructed from eight battery units weighing 30 kg. A six-hour charge of the battery provides the vehicle with enough power to travel 120 kilometers, making it suitable for urban use.

The car, which may be charged through a normal electrical outlet, is currently sold in central cities in India, as well as Barcelona, London, Madrid, Athens and Oslo.

"The car's big success is London, where the municipality has adopted it as a project and granted special benefits to owners of electric cars," Keynan relates. Among other benefits, equipped parking spaces have been allocated in municipal parking lots, congestion fees have been waived for owners of the car, and the vehicle is allowed to travel in lanes earmarked for public transportation.

The vehicle is manufactured by the Bangalore-based REVA Electric Car Company, owned by the Indian corporation Maini Group. The company, with an annual turnover of about $100 million, specializes in a variety of auto industry areas, including spare parts.

The REVA was first launched in India on May 11, 2001 after seven years of R&D, and hailed as the most innovative and high-technology product of the year.

The Indian car has been developed to use a lightweight tubular steel space frame that supports all the suspension and body components. The body is made from lightweight dent-proof ABS plastic panels. The extruded sheets are thermoformed to the desired shape and have a high impact resistance.

A large crush zone in the front of the car provide further safety to passengers against impact. The battery pack position is so designed as to keep the center of gravity low, and dual-hydraulic and regenerative braking are added for additional safety.

The REVA has an onboard charger to facilitate easy charging that can be carried out by plugging into any 15-ampere socket at home or work. An intelligent "low battery" warning light and a fuel gauge that allows easy estimation of driving range ensure that the driver is not be stranded.