Mahindra is looking to build upon its first-mover advantage in the Indian EV space and has announced its new EV 2.0 initiative, a roadmap of its next generation of EVs as well as making the concept of electric motoring popular with the Indian masses. Through its subsidiary Mahindra Electric, it will increase investments in battery, drivetrain and electronic technologies, increase production output as well as form new partnerships for mobility solutions.
Mahindra’s stint as an EV maker began when it acquired the Reva electric car company seven years ago, but has achieved little success with its models showing lacklustre sales and currently only 2,700 cars on the road. With the new plan, Mahindra hopes to correct the low sales and take advantage of the government’s new push towards electric vehicles.
Its next generation of electric vehicles will see the use of its new electric drivetrains developing power from 41hp to 204hp, and vehicles with higher-capacity 350V battery delivering a range of 250-350 km.
"We have to increase the driving range. Currently, the range we have in our vehicles is 110-120 km. We need to take it to over 200km to give the customers confidence that they can use electric vehicles and not worry about the charge running out," said Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra, and chairman, Mahindra Electric.
The company says that vehicles with these new powertrains will accelerate to 60kmph in 4-5 secs, will be capable of achieving top speeds up to 200km/h and can be installed in both two-wheel-drive and all–wheel-drive applications. Range anxiety and low-performance credentials have been hurdles in the past that have kept customers away from Mahindra EVs, but with the newly enhanced powertrains, this could change. In fact, Mahindra believes that the extended range will play a huge factor in changing the perception towards electric vehicles in India, especially with taxi operators and fleet buyers for whom the low operating costs will be a big draw.
Costs, though still remain as the single largest deterrent for customers shying away from EVs and the company admits that it will have to reduce the overall costs by nearly 20 percent to make it an attractive proposition for customers. Also included in the electric programme is its Korean subsidiary Ssangyong Motors, which will share these powertrains in their vehicles.
Investments are being made to produce electric vehicles at the Chakan plant and ramp up the company’s capacity from the current 500 units to 5,000 per month. Its current range of electric vehicles which includes the e2oPlus, e-Verito and e-Supro van will continue to sell alongside Mahindra’s new products.