Reva to Boost Range with Lithium-Ion Battery

It’s about time Indian electric car company Reva, which has one of the best-selling electric vehicles in the world, opted for a few higher-end, better-performance options. According to a press release posted on the G-Wiz Owners Club forums (hat tip Autoblog Green) Reva is launching a lithium-ion-battery-powered electric vehicle for the European market, along with a fast-charging station that can charge the lithium-ion battery 90 percent in one hour.

Up until now, Reva has been selling a relatively low-cost version ($9,000) of its electric vehicle that uses a lead-acid battery and has a range of about 50 miles per battery charge. Throughout 2008 Reva had been pretty open about the fact that it had been researching lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries to extend range and increase performance. The new vehicle — dubbed the REVA L-ion — will have a range of about 75 miles per charge and a max speed of 50 miles per hour, according to the press release.

While Reva might not be that well known in the U.S., the Bangalore-based company got its start in 1994 as a joint venture between the Maini Group India and California-based AEV LLC, and after an extensive R&D period, its first commercial vehicle went to market in India in 2001. More recently, Draper Fisher Jurveston invested in the fledgling company, leading a $20 million round of financing for the company in 2006.

A company spokesman told us last year that Reva had planned to ramp up its annual production of vehicles from 6,000 to 30,000 vehicles during 2008, but we’re not sure how the downturn has affected those production plans. Global financial turmoil has certainly put a dent in other electric vehicle makers plans, including Tesla’s and Think’s, as well as the traditional automakers.

According to the press release, Reva’s lithium-ion electric vehicle will be available for pre-order starting this coming February, with deliveries starting in May in Norway, the UK, France, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Belgium and Ireland.