Electric vehicles are currently gaining popularity in India and around the world. Tata Motors is currently one of the leading electric car manufacturers in India. Their Tata Nexon EV is currently the most popular electric SUV in India. Even manufacturers of luxury cars like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi have electric cars in our market. At the moment, we have Mahindra and Tata as Indian manufacturers who have electric cars in the market. But did you know that they are not the first Indian car manufacturers to do so? The first electric car manufactured in India was called the Lovebird, and it was manufactured by Eddy Electric.
The car was actually built by Eddy Electric in 1993. It was initially showcased to the public at the Auto Expo in Delhi. Soon after the launch, the car also received a couple of awards. It was all looking good for the electric car, and even the government gave approval to the manufacturer to sell this vehicle to customers. Things, however, changed after this. Like many manufacturers of vehicles during that time, the Lovebird had really low sales. After a point, the manufacturer had to stop production.
The Lovebird was manufactured by Eddy Current Controls (India) in collaboration with Yaskawa Electric Mfg. Co. from Tokyo, Japan. The manufacturing was done in Kerala’s Chalakkudy and Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The Lovebird was actually a 2-seater electric car that used a DC electric motor. The motor sourced power from a rechargeable battery pack that was also portable.
When compared to current EVs, this car didn’t have an advanced battery management system or features. It used a Lead-Acid battery pack. The exact details regarding the battery packs are currently not available. The car was equipped with an electric chopper that allowed for a smoother speed control system.
Unlike modern-day electric cars, the Lovebird came with a 4-speed transmission along with a reverse gear. This was done to make it as efficient as other cars available in the market. The electric car had a maximum driving range of 60 km. This was meant for customers who wanted a small car for city use. It was definitely not the most beautiful car on the market, even at that time. The car took almost 8 hours to completely charge the batteries. It also had an issue in climbing gradients steeper than 15 degrees. This was not a big issue at that time, as we didn’t have many flyovers in cities.
As mentioned above, the main reason why this car was discontinued was low sales volume. According to reports, the manufacturer did not even cross three-digit numbers when it comes to total sales. Even today, when there are several electric car options available in the market, we still have a section of people who are not very confident about the technology and also have range anxiety and doubts about charging infrastructure. The Lovebird was a car launched in the ’90s, a time when we didn’t have a proper power supply and the charging infrastructure was non-existent. The government also took away the subsidy, which in turn increased the price. All of this made the car more expensive, and the market was not mature enough to invest more in an EV than an ICE car.