India’s IT on four wheels

DQW Bureau
19 Feb 2004
New Update


The Reva Electric Car Company - RECC, was formed as a result of the joint

venture between the Bangalore based Maini Group and AEVT Inc of Irvindale,

California in 1995, with an objective to manufacture environment-friendly,

cost-effective electric vehicles for city mobility. Now, the company will soon

be bringing out a software which will enable the driver of the Reva to view

different activities of the car and its overall health on a portable Palm Pilot.

The software, called Portable Electronic Tool (PET) Soft and to be launched in

four months time, will piggy-back on the car’s in built Energy Management

System (EMS) and aid in better usage of the vehicle according to the company.

"We developed the EMS to help us monitor and service the car better. So

far, there was only a dealer version of PET Soft, which is used by servicing

personnel to get quickly to the root of any problem in Reva and therefore, cut

down on the time for pr-oblem resolution," said Chetan Kumar Maini, MD of

the company.

According to him, the user version of PET Soft will be different from the

dealers, with more user-friendly information like how long the car can travel on

its present battery charge and advice on when to charge among others.


The EMS resides inside the car and consists of a hardware unit containing

embedded solutions from Microchip, which collects data from the car and stores

it. It also constantly monitors the vehicle and sets off an alarm when something

goes wrong. All versions of PET Soft have been developed on the Palm OS to

ensure that information can be collected on the move. Palm PDAs equipped with

PET Soft via a port inside the car can access data from the EMS.

"The data is platform independent and can be uploaded into any Microsoft

enabled desktop and collated using Excel spreadsheets. The EMS can store 32 KB

of data or roughly 300 run cycles of summary data, each cycle being 80 kms,"

informed Maini, who refers to Reva as ‘IT on four wheels’. He also envisions

a time in the near future where PET Soft can be integrated into advanced

devices, which will double as PDA and phone making it easier for consumers to

assimilate in their lives.

While the dealer version of PET Soft costs close to Rs 2,500, Maini said that

the user version, which will allow the owner to view the state of the car, while

restricting access to modification of data, will cost close to Rs 1,500. The

company, which has sold 600 cars since its launch in 2001, plans to introduce

the user PET Soft in India, test the market and then move it to its overseas


Sathya Mithra Ashok (CyberMedia News)