You’d be surprised to know how many new electric vehicles that have come out in the past few months for global markets have a strong link to the Indian automotive industry. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these EVs will make its way across to our shores, but when you do see one of these cars in your travels abroad, it’s a fact worth boasting!
Here are the electric vehicles that possess a ‘desi’ connection:
1 & 2. Renault K-ZE & Dacia Spring (development of the CMF-A was done at the RNTBCI)
Although our market has the conventional petrol-powered Renault Kwid that sells in droves, the Chinese, interestingly, are stuck with the sole option of electric power for the Kwid, called the Renault K-ZE.
Of course, at 61,800 yuan (6.57 Lakhs), the Chinese aren’t necessarily stuck with that option but are rather lucky because, for that attractively low price, they’re getting a fairly spacious, mini SUV-esque EV that’s at home in an urban jungle. Not to mention the 33 kW and 125 Nm electric motor that’s juiced by a 26.8 kWh rechargeable battery with support for fast charging and is capable driving 271 kilometres on a single charge (note that this figure is obtained from the NEDC cycle). European markets are also confirmed to get the Kwid K-ZE, but to be rebadged and marketed as a Dacia from early 2021. This was foreshadowed by the Dacia Spring Concept revealed online on March 3rd, 2020.
What the two cars have in common is the CMF-A platform that has its roots in the Indian market. Much of its development was undertaken by the Renault-Nissan Alliançe’s Indian engineers at the RNTBCI (Renault Nissan Technology & Business Centre) under the leadership of the late Gerard Detourbet, given that it’s one of the biggest markets for low-cost compact vehicles, and the high expectations from the average Indian buyer pushed the development team to create a modular, shareable platform that conforms to local standard but for a lower cost. Before his demise, Detourbet was working on the electrification of the Kwid for China which gave the country the K-ZE.
3. Peugeot e-Ludix (manufactured in India by Mahindra)
There’s a global electric vehicle that’s manufactured in India (specifically Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh). It was designed in Pune, Maharashtra. It’s even a Peugeot!
However, it’s not one of the Peugeot passenger cars but the French company’s motorcycle division which is wholly owned by Mahindra and Mahindra. The Peugeot e-Ludix is an electric moped sold exclusively in European markets. It has a 3KW electric motor and is capable of reaching a top speed of 45 km/h. With a range of 50 km per charge, the e-Ludix makes its case as a low cost, quick and tiny city runabout for students and delivery partners. In European markets, the e-Ludix is priced at 3,490 Euros (2.91 Lakhs).
Given its connection to Mahindra, the e-Ludix may be subjected to the Ssangyong treatment i.e rebadged to a Mahindra with focus on a lower retail cost soon, as the Indian automobile manufacturer is trying to engineer a cost-down version of the e-Ludix. If it does see the light of day, the e-Ludix will go up against products from Hero Electric and Okinawa. Mahindra’s other EV company, GenZe, headquartered in California, markets electric bicycles and scooters made in the USA to corporate fleets.
4. Pininfarina Battista (Pininfarina is wholly owned by Mahindra Group)
If the e-Ludix represents one end of the Mahindra Group’s EV spectrum, the Pininfarina Batista would be placed at the complete opposite end. With power equivalent to nearly 467 Peugeot e-Ludix units, the 1400 kW Batista is the Italian design house’s first-ever production car that made its world debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Pininfarina had always aspired to design, develop and produce their own car, and its acquisition by Mahindra and Mahindra helped turn that it into reality.
The Batista will be one of the most powerful vehicles to-be-sold ever, surpassing power figures from big names like Bugatti, Koenigsegg and Hennessey. It is capable of sprinting from 0–100 km/h in about 2 seconds, 0–299 km/h in 12 seconds and hitting a claimed top speed in excess of 349 km/h.
If not being driven hard, the Batista can do 450 km on a single charge thanks to a large 120 kWh T-shaped battery pack sourced from Rimac. The Batista will be built in very limited numbers, given that each unit will be individually hand-crafted and available with a wide variety of customization options typically expected from multimillion-dollar hypercars.
5. Nio ES8 – Research and Development support from Tata Technologies
Nio may be famous for its hyper-fast and track-capable Nio EP9 electric 2-seater, but the Chinese startup also happens to have products that are far more conventional – the full-size ES8 electric SUV. Sold exclusively in China, the ES8 starts from 468,000 yuan (INR 49.9 Lakhs). The Nio NS8 held the world record for an electric car achieving to the highest altitude until the Hyundai Kona came along this year.
For the development of their electric portfolio, Nio sought the help of Tata Technologies since the former’s establishment in 2015. They are proud to talk about the Indian technology company’s involvement in the development and production of the all-aluminium Nio ES8, especially in areas like body structures, exterior panels, manufacturing and off-car connectivity.
The ES8 can do 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and is claimed to offer a maximum range of 580 km (NEDC cycle), courtesy of a 70 kW/hr battery pack that powers four electric motors producing a total of 448 kW. It comes with three rows of seating as standard, with options between 6-seat (2 captain seats in the middle row) or 7-seats, and active air suspension as standard. The ES8 would squarely rival the likes of the Tesla Model X, locals like the Xpeng G3 and BYD Tang, and other 5-seater SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Audi e-tron and the upcoming BMW iX3.