It’s been 21 years since Mahindra launched the its first electric vehicle – the Mahindra Bijlee. What was once only a novel technology then is set to become a mainstream technology for the masses two decades later, as the company eyes putting five lakh EVs on Indian roads by 2025.
Mahindra says that it has already invested around INR 1,700 crore in its EV business. Moreover, it has allocated INR 500 crore for a new R&D centre for EVs, GEVtec (Global Electric Vehicle Technology Centre). The company acknowledges slowness in the EV sector but expects a fast-paced growth by the middle of the decade. Mahindra sold more than 14,000 EVs in the previous financial year (FY2019-20), registering a Y-o-Y growth of 40% (over FY2018-19). The current financial year’s sales could be lower because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of new launches.
Mahindra is initially targeting commercial customers to boost electric vehicle sales, with taxis, three-wheelers, last mile and first mile connectivity vehicles as focus areas. The company has launched the improved Mahindra Treo and Mahindra Treo Zor three-wheelers this year, and it plans to launch the Mahindra eKUV100 electric car by end of January. It would market the Mahindra eKUV100 as an affordable shared mobility vehicle, seeking bulk orders from fleet operators and players like Lithium, Meru and Ola Cabs. The Mahindra eKUV100 would be available to individual customers as well, though it would make up a fraction of the total volume.
Following the Mahindra eKUV100, the Mahindra Atom electric quadricycle will go on sale by end of April. It will be only towards the of 2021 that a Mahindra EV developed for individual customers will come into the picture – the Mahindra eXUV300 (codename: Mahindra S210). Featuring the MESMA 350 powertrain, the Tata Nexon EV rival will go up to 375 km on a full charge and is expected to undercut the Tata electric car by a good margin.
Mahindra plans to launch EVs co-developed with Ford as well in the future, but those models are probably about two years away. The MESMA 48, MESMA 350 and MESMA 650 platforms would underpin most of the upcoming Mahindra EVs until 2025. Global EV initiatives of the Mahindra Group include electric vehicles from the Peugeot Motorcycles division (Peugeot e-Ludix), the Mahindra Racing team’s participation in the FIA Formula E Championship and high-performance electric vehicles from Pininfarina.