Mahindra to develop new EV platform; accelerates efforts to establish leadership in electric SUVs

In an announcement this week, Mahindra expressed confidence in its SUV portfolio and said that the company is increasing the pace of its work to achieve the leadership position in the electric SUV category.

Anish Shah, Deputy Managing Director and CFO, Mahindra Group, talked about an increased focus on EVs during a virtual conference following the announcement, as per a reuters.com report. He said that the company would look at how it can speed up investment in EVs which will be important to achieve its goal of becoming a global brand. Speaking further, he mentioned Pininfarina Battista as a starting point and added that the company would evaluate developing more platforms for EVs made in India for both domestic and export markets.

Mahindra eKUV100 front three quarter view - Auto Expo 2020
The Mahindra eKUV100 will likely become a popular choice for fleet operators because of its size and attractive price.

Shah said that Mahindra’s initial plan was to invest roughly INR 30 billion in the joint venture company with Ford Motor, and half the amount would have been equity. Now, with the JV company cancelled, Mahindra plans to invest the money in EVs. Ford is still welcome at Mahindra for collaborating on products, including EVs.

Tata Motors currently leads India’s electric car market and the electric SUV sales chart, with the Tata Nexon EV. Costing INR 13.99 lakh (ex-showroom) onwards, the Tata Nexon EV isn’t cheap, but it’s the most affordable electric SUV in our market right now and the only model that is locally manufactured.

By April, M&M will put the Mahindra eKUV100 (codename: Mahindra S110) on sale. With a price tag of INR 8.25 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi, incl. FAME-II subsidy), it would be India’s most affordable electric car then, and not just the country’s cheapest electric SUV.

The micro-SUV would be followed by a bigger electric SUV that goes up against the Tata Nexon EV as early as the year-end – the Mahindra eXUV300 (Mahindra S210). Thanks to a range of 375 km and the complete localisation of the electrical architecture, the Mahindra eXUV300 could be a big hit in our market due to the price and features.

Mahindra eXUV300 rear quarters rendering
The Mahindra eXUV300 is the company’s second electric SUV that is expected around December this year. It will have the attributes in range, features, and design to compete with diesel-powered SUVs.

One of the bigger new Mahindra SUVs could also be a candidate for full electrification. The company will introduce the next-gen Mahindra XUV500 (codename: Mahindra W601) early this year and the next-gen Mahindra Scorpio (codename: Mahindra Z101) in the middle of 2021. Such a move could be at least two years away from now, though.

Mahindra to use funds allocated for JV to develop dedicated EV platform

The previously announced Mahindra-Ford joint venture in India has been called off and the Coronavirus’ impact on the business is one of the factors that led to the cancellation of the tie-up. As a result, Ford will continue operating independently in India, but the joint development of new products such as the first SUVs will continue.

Mahindra was to invest INR 3,000 crore in the joint venture company with Ford. Now, it plans to use a part of that reserved fund to develop a new EV platform, as per a report from autocarpro.in.

Mahindra has divided its electrification into three stages. The first stage is electrifying three-wheelers and LCVs (such as the Treo & Atom), the second stage is electrifying existing cars (eKUV100 & eXUV300) and the third stage is building a new EV platform. The part of the fund mentioned would go into Phase-III, and could lead to the first Mahindra car built from the outset as with an electric powertrain. It is likely now that Mahindra is working on the specifics for making a skateboard chassis like Volkswagen Group’s MEB and Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP.