India’s export-import bank (India Exim) has signed a R500mn (US$11mn) research and development loan to electric vehicle company Mahindra Reva.

The loan will be used to upgrade the eco-car firm’s electric vehicle models and launch a number of new models with increased range, speed and safety features.

India Exim will be financing the vehicle manufacturer under its research and development (R and D) finance programme, which aims to produce wider access to higher-margin exportable goods.

“India’s high-tech exports are much lower as compared to low-tech exports,” says India Exim’s chairman and managing director T Ranganthan.

“Expenditure in R and D would help boost high-tech exports.”

“Expenditure in R and D would help boost high-tech exports. India Exim is ready to finance R and D, quality enhancement and product development,” Ranganthan adds.

The current range of electric vehicles, known as the Revai, has a range of 80kms and takes around eight hours to fully charge.

Also competing in India’s electric vehicle market is the country’s largest car manufacturer Tata Motors, which has produced a much larger lithium battery run four-person hatchback which can last for up to 200kms.