Mahindra & Mahindra has been a first mover among automakers in India as far as electric vehicle mobility is concerned. With the government announcing a slew of incentives, in the Union Budget through to the recent slashing of GST from 12 to 5 percent to boost EV adoption, Mahindra Electric is strengthening its portfolio with as many as three new EVs slated to be launched by 2021.
Speaking in Mumbai at the company's Q1 FY2020 financial results today, managing director Dr Pawan Goenka confirmed that the KUV100 electric will be launched by end-2019, followed by the electric XUV300 in 2020. There will also be a Mahindra-badged electric version of the Ford Aspire sedan, slated for a 2021 launch.
The three new EVs will join the Mahindra e-Verito currently on sale in Mahindra's EV model range. The brand's other EV, the e20, has been discontinued since it was unable to meet new stringent safety norms.
While all of Mahindra's EVs so far are converted from internal combustion engine versions, Mahindra is also developing an EV platform that will spawn ground-up EVs. Dr Goenka confirmed that these products could be introduced within three to three-and-a-half years.
"As far as EVs go, the focus is more on three- and two-wheelers right now but four-wheelers will catch up. With the 5 percent GST reduction, the business case for the e-Verito becomes almost even. If, for instance, the 5 percent duty on the lithium-ion cell goes away, then the earnings for a shared mobility service provider will be the same for an e-Verito as well as for any diesel or petrol sedan," said Dr Goenka. Mahindra currently has about 1,500-2,000 e-Veritos on the road right now and of the total, about 200 units have clocked over 50,000km.
Late last month, the GST Council recommended a reduction in GST rate on electric vehicles to 5 percent from 12 percent. It also announced that the GST on EV chargers and charging stations has been reduced to 5 percent from the earlier 18 percent, which could improve the lagging EV infrastructure in the country.
Dr Goenka had welcomed the move, saying, "Mahindra has many EV projects in progress. We will review immediately to see if we can fast-forward some of them and also look at faster ramp-up of capacity."
He today reiterated his earlier announcement that the company's new EV powertrain plant in Chakan has gone on stream, with an investment of Rs 200 crore. It will manufacture key components as the EV battery, motor, transmission and power electronics.
Dr Goenka believes IC engine vehicles are the pillar of the country's economy and the push towards EVs should not destroy that market. Rather, maintaining a balance is critical.
What's apparent in the Indian PV market is that with the government plugging heavily into electric mobility to the detriment of the IC engine industry, automakers are keen to ensure sustainability in the future. Tata Motors is also looking for bigger play in the EV space and has lined up four new models.
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