Starting from the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship on September 13 in Shanghai, the Mahindra Racing team cars’ goal will not only be to “straight away try to gun for the championship”, but also aid engineers at Mahindra Reva to develop electric cars with performance characteristics usually seen in cars with high-performance internal combustion engines. “The powertrain size and everything are going to be things that you can probably downscale by 30-40 percent in future products like the Halo and other products,” Chetan Maini, founder and CEO, Mahindra Reva, told Autocar Professional.
The Formula E Championship is seen as a “two-way street” by Mahindra. On one hand, it will leverage the experience gained over 15 years by electric vehicle maker Mahindra Reva to gain an edge over others, while on the other the learnings from the track will be put to develop cars that will help remove the plain-Jane image of electric cars, especially in India. “People will also start talking electric car terminology like regenerative braking and telematics. I think it will start making people more aware about what goes in an electric car, how it works and what the benefits are,” says Maini.
The Mahindra Group launched its first electric car, the e2O, in March 2013 but the car hasn’t found many takers due to the high price-tag. EV OEMs are looking to the government for subsidies that will help create a market for electric vehicles in India. So, it is likely that the performance electric cars that Mahindra will develop will be launched in overseas markets like the UK, France and Norway before customers in the domestic market get to plug into them.
Mahindra Racing has announced that Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna will be the team drivers in the 2014 FIA Formula E Championship.