The Mahindra Group has lauded the UK government’s move, announced yesterday, to keep aside up to £7.5 million (Rs 73.8 crore) to boost the uptake for electric 2-wheelers and help bikers bridge the cost gap between a zero- emission electric motorcycle and conventional petrol versions. With this motorcycles and scooters will join cars, vans, trucks and buses in the UK government’s drive for greener vehicles, as announced by business minister Matthew Hancock. The grant could offer up to £1,500 (Rs 1.47 lakh) off the purchase price and allow motorcyclists to reduce both their running costs and environmental impact.
The move comes following meetings with the electric Motor Cycle Industry Association and leading manufacturers including Suzuki, Harley-Davidson, BMW, Volt, and India’s Mahindra & Mahindra.
Not surprisingly, the Mahindra Group which has developed the Genze electric two-wheeler in the USA has welcomed the move.
A spokesman from Mahindra & Mahindra said: “Mahindra welcomes this statement of ambition and commitment by the UK government, further enhancing what is already one of the most comprehensive packages of support for the move to e-mobility anywhere in the world. The Mahindra GenZe is an innovative, zero emission electric 2-wheeler, that will offer an exciting ride to urban commuters.
“The Mahindra Group already has a growing presence in the UK through its electric vehicles and Formula E racing team and we fully expect the UK to be one of our lead markets for our GenZe 2 wheelers when they come to the UK market in late 2015.”
Autocar Professional was the first in India to report on the Genze in April 2014. Developed at Mahindra Two Wheelers’ R&D Centre in Palo Alto, California, the single-seater GenZe is positioned as a green urban runabout with high utility value. It is designed to carry the rider as well as groceries, laundry, or anything else that fits in the generous amount of space in the bucket behind the rider. Below the seat there’s space to carry a phone or a tablet and charge it too through a USB. Apart from the charger, other extras include luggage-carrying accessories and a wind-cheating windshield. There’s no speedometer but a seven-inch touch-screen in its place. The weather-proof touch-screen is much more than an instrument panel. It’s Bluetooth-enabled and monitors the battery charge status, range, diagnostics and route. The user can also use the GPS app or listen to music through it. The GenZe, which is driven by a 1.4KW motor has an estimated range of around 50km and a top speed of 50kph. The vehicle has a replaceable lithium ion integrated power module, which includes the battery pack, controller and the charger in one compact unit, giving it a high operational flexibility.
It is also to be noted that six months from now, Mahindra Reva, the electric car arm of Mahinda & Mahindra, will launch the e20 electric car in the UK. It will be the first European market for the e20. The REVAi was earlier sold in the UK as the G-Wiz.
UK business minister Matthew Hancock said: “Low emission vehicles are the future and show that we can meet our climate change commitments without giving up our cars or motorbikes. Electric motorcycles and scooters have got fantastic potential and can be a real force for good. This investment shows we are serious about increasing the uptake of cleaner vehicles in the UK, and offer a fantastic place for firms to locate their research and development and manufacturing facilities. Supporting new technologies is a key part of our long-term economic plan.”
UK transport minister Baroness Kramer added: “This £7.5 million for electric bikes demonstrates our commitment to all ultra-low emission vehicles, from motorbikes to cars and trucks. From navigating city streets to putting in the motorway miles there is now a genuine low emission choice for everyone and electric vehicles are now ready to go mainstream. We are determined that the UK continues to be at the forefront of this vital revolution in transport.”
The UK government says it will continue to work closely with the industry as it finalises the details of the scheme, including the grant level and final eligibility criteria, but it could be up and running in dealerships as early as this summer. The funding is being made available from the £500 million (Rs 4,921 crore) Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) programme for the period 2015 to 2020.
GenZe: Mahindra’s first electric 2-wheeler is born in the USA http://bit.ly/1EfEMVd