Indian automobile giant Mahindra Electric, on January 9, announced that it will be rolling out electric version of its KUV sports utility vehicle in the first quarter of the financial year 2020-21. The electric vehicle (EV) will make its first public appearance at the Auto Expo 2020, which will be held in February 2020.
Speaking at the press conference held in Delhi, Pawan Goenka, managing director at Mahindra and Mahindra, said, “The e-KUV will be priced under Rs 9 lakh. The electric car will be priced under INR 9 Lakh. The electric car will be showcased in the upcoming Auto Expo 2020 and is expected to hit the market by the first quarter of 20-21 financial year.”
‘Shared Electric Mobility Has Taken Off’
Goenka added that the time for electric vehicles has finally arrived and that EVs have already taken off in the shared mobility space. Talking about the government’s role in pushing EVs, he added the government has already done its bit by encouraging EVs and now even state governments have been aggressively pushing for EVs through incentives and policies.
Goenka also noted that many states have started procuring electric buses and there are expected to be at least 4K e-buses on the road by 2020. The MD also admitted that electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers have proven to be commercially viable, which can be demonstrated through its partnership with B2B electric fleet provider Lithium Urban.
Lithium Urban and Mahindra Electric have been in partnership for the last five years and have covered 100 Mn e-Kms together with 1K Mahindra EVs in the Bengaluru-based startups’ fleet.
Goenka clarified that Mahindra will be focusing on shared mobility for now, but will also be unveiling the electric version XUV 300 to mark its entry into the personal emobility segment. At the press conference, which was intended to share the achievements of the partnership between Mahindra and Lithium Urban, Goenka also revealed Mahindra’s future plans in the emobility segment.
‘Make EVs In India’
Mahindra will also be launching its ATOM Electric in the third quarter of FY21 for shared mobility fleet. In addition, by March 2020, the company plans to localise production of EV by using parts manufactured in India. However, battery cells will not be a part of this localisation drive.
The company will be manufacturing motors, chargers and assembling batteries at Mahindra’s production unit in Bengaluru, where the company has invested INR 250 Cr. Mahindra has also decided to set up a research and development (R&D) center in Bengaluru, where it will invest close to INR 500 Cr. The R&D will be used to manufacture high voltage batteries and high power starter motor, among other EV components.
The MD also emphasised that EVs have started to grow in India but the demand is still low as only 230 to 250 electric four-wheelers are being sold per month. Therefore, the current slowdown in the automobile industry has nothing to do with the electric mobility segment.
Goenka also announced that Mahindra is looking to electrify radio taxi operator Meru’s fleet, although the company has not set a deadline for the same. Mahindra acquired a 55% majority stake in Meru, back in September 2019.