Mahindra & Mahindra, which is bullish on growth at its electric mobility arm, Mahindra Electric, and is also readying to launch its eKUV100 SUV in early 2020, has broken ground on a new EV powertrain plant in Chakan. The cue to this development came from Dr Pawan Goenka’s tweets last night.
The Rs 200 crore investment in the new facility, which will manufacture key components of an EV powertrain – EV battery, motor, transmission and power electronics – with capacity for 50,000 EVs per annum, is part of the Rs 900 crore investment announced last year to expand its overall manufacturing capacity, both at the Bangalore and Chakan plants.
The Chakan EV powertrain facility will be the second one for Mahindra Electric after the Bangalore unit which went on stream last November. “Mahindra Electric will become the first company to manufacture internal permanent magnet (IPM) motors for EVs in India, a reflection of our commitment to Make in India,” Dr Goenka had said then.
In FY2019, total EV sales in India crossed the 750,000-unit mark to reach 759,600 units. This includes electric two-wheelers (126,000), electric three-wheelers (630,000) and electric passenger vehicles (3,600), which translates into electric two-wheelers witnessing triple-digit growth (130%) YoY.
Seeing tomorrow today
The move to set up a new EV powertrain plant is indicative of the fact that M&M and Mahindra Electric are prepping up for future demand. In FY2019, Mahindra Electric doubled its sales – 10,276 units from 4,026 units in FY2018 – as a result of its focused efforts to sell its e2O to fleet operators and three-wheelers to last-mile operators. The company has also begun supplying EVs to state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) for the second phase of a combined 10,000 units order.
As per a PTI report, Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahindra Electric, said: “Last year we have more than doubled (sales). The growth rate will not be lower than what achieved last year. I don’t see it falling this year.”
He said growth will continue to be driven through partnerships with new-age smart mobility providers like Smart Blu and SmartE besides supplies to EESL. “The strategy for 2019 will be more on fleet and three-wheelers,” said Babu. He added that Mahindra Electric expects robust demand for its recently launched electric three-wheeler Treo, once registration issues are sorted out at various states.
“The Central government has already announced zero need for permits for electric three-wheelers but we are facing some challenges in the states, which they we progressively working to help us. Once that is done, I think large deployment of three-wheelers is in our pipeline,” he said.
In December 2018, Mahindra Electric Mobility inked an MoU with SmartE, an EV owner-aggregator operating in Delhi-NCR for deploying EVs for last-mile connectivity in India. As per the MoU, the company plans to deploy a total of 10,000 Mahindra electric three-wheelers across the country by 2020.
Meanwhile, on June 4, 2019, Mahindra Electric tied up with Blu Smart Mobility to induct 70 Mahindra eVerito sedans in its fleet across the Delhi-NCR region including Gurgaon, Nodia, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad. Blu Smart Mobility also plans to add 500 eVeritos in its fleet by April 2020 as the company plans expansion to other cities including Mumbai and Pune.
Commenting on the company’s ongoing business with EESL, Babu said Mahindra Electric, which is to provide 50 percent of the remaining order for 9,500 units (with the rest to be supplied by Tata Motors), has begun supplies of its eVerito sedan. “The EESL (second phase) offtake has taken place,” he said, adding that while 500 units have been delivered, another 500 are in the pipeline. In the first phase of the EESL order, Mahindra had supplied 250 units.
Continuing with capex, Maharashtra the beneficiary
Mahindra & Mahindra is also investing Rs 1,500 crore in a brand-new press shop, weld shop, paint shop and assembly line for its regular operations. Dr Goenka tweeted: “When most companies are shying away from capacity investment, Mahindra getting ready with Chakan Phase II. 1500 cr investment in a brand new Press shop, weld shop, paint shop, assembly line.”
That’s not all. The company is also setting up a 2,500-seat office building, which is coming up near the Chakan plant.
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