The country’s sole electric vehicles manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra has forged a partnership with Uber, with the aim of deploying hundreds of its electric hatchback e2oPlus and electric sedan eVerito on the cab aggregator’s platform in New Delhi and Hyderabad.
Confirming the development, Mahindra and Mahindra MD Pawan Goenka said, “As pioneers of electric vehicles in the country, we would like to be at the forefront, leading this charge towards smart and sustainable mobility.”
In addition to supplying the electric vehicles at competitive prices, the Mumbai-headquartered automotive giant will be providing insurance, maintenance and financing services to Uber and other companies that are part of the alliance.
As per the terms of the partnership, Uber and Mahindra will collaborate with other public as well as private entities to set up common-use charging stations in major cities across the country.
Mahindra had originally announced plans to enter the cab aggregator space with EVs in July 2017. At the time, Group Chairman Anand Mahindra had said, “The days of personal commuting may be limited, especially in congested cities and metros. Electric vehicles will be the preferred choice for the ride aggregators, as demand for petrol and diesel cars starts ‘tapering off’.”
The development comes days after Uber’s biggest competitor Ola joined hands with Tata Motors to launch Nano Electric Vehicle as part of its taxi fleet in Delhi/NCR. As per reports, the EV version of Tata Nano has been named Jayem Neo. For the project, Tata Motors will supply the Nano’s chassis and body shell without the engine and transmission. The actual EV will be manufactured by Coimbatore-based Jayem Automotives.
On the international front, ride-sharing giant Uber recently announced plans to buy up to 24,000 driverless cars from Volvo between 2019 and 2021, as it enters the next era of futuristic mobility solutions.
The Electric Mobility Push Of Mahindra
Mahindra’s electric vehicle manufacturing arm came into existence in 2010, when Reva Electric Car Company was acquired and rebranded into Mahindra Electric Mobility Limited. Based in Bengaluru, the company sold 4,000 units of its first EV, REVAi Electric Car, in 26 different countries by March of 2011.
Two years later, Mahindra Electric launched e2o, an electric hatchback which was later upgraded to e2oPlus. Other EVs under the Mahindra brand include the electric sedan eVerito and the electric commercial vehicle for passengers and cargo, eSupro.
Elaborating on the company’s EV drive, Anand Mahindra stated recently that the company had forged a partnership with Ford Motor Co, geared towards cooperation and collaboration in emerging technologies, including driverless and electric cars.
He said at the time, “We’ve just been believers for a while, haven’t been making any money, but now the tipping point seems to be reached. This is not a trade-off. This is the single biggest business opportunity for the next couple of decades. Anyone not looking at these opportunities is going to miss out on growth.”
According to him, the market for EVs will continue growing even without government subsidies. During the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in September, Anand reportedly said, “Businesses look for stability, they look for direction. You don’t need that much more if you’re just smelling opportunity. We’re not looking for subsidies, we were just saying, ‘Tell us that’s the track you’re going to follow.’ If you’re going to do that, there’s money to be made, there’s going to be a return.”
Last month, the Indian government awarded the tender for 10,000 EVs to Mahindra and Tata Motors, as part of its goal to procure 1 Mn electric three- and four-wheelers and 10,000 electrically-powered city buses by mid-2019.
Most recently, in November, Mahindra announced an alliance with self-drive car rental platform, Zoomcar, aimed at deploying 20 units of its all-electric smart car, e2oPlus as well as two charging units in Mysuru.
According to a recent report by FICCI and Rocky Mountain Institute, shifting to all-electric cars could help India save up to $300 Bn in oil imports. In a city like Delhi, where automobile exhaust is one of the major contributors of smog, introducing electric vehicles through the platform of cab aggregator Uber will allow Mahindra to play a part in lowering the capital city’s air pollution levels.