The past couple of months have seen considerable action in the electric two-wheeler field in India, what with Ather Energy announcing plans for a new plant in Hosur, Bajaj Auto revealing its e-Chetak, and Ultraviolette showcasing its performance electric motorcycle, among others. Now Mahindra & Mahindra, through its two-wheeler arm, is readying to plug into electric mobility, which will make it the sole OEM in India to have EVs on two, three and four wheels.
Mahindra & Mahindra is learnt to be at an advanced stage of showcasing and/or launching its first electric scooter, which is understood to be based on the Mahindra Gusto scooter platform. It may be recollected that in April 2017, Autocar Professional had reported that a Gusto-based e-scooter was under development. The now-discontinued Gusto 110cc and 125cc scooter models were the most successful Mahindra models on two wheels, compared to the Duro and Rodeo.
According to sources familiar with the latest developments on the new project, Mahindra's electric scooter will be revealed before Auto Expo 2020, which opens in early February. The e-scooter, for which ARAI certification is believed to have been received, is expected to be retailed at an estimated price of around Rs 80,000 in Delhi (including FAME 2 and state government subsidies).
Considering that Mahindra owns two electric-scooter manufacturing companies (Mahindrda Genze in the USA and Peugeot Motocycles in France), it was a matter of time before the company, which is the forerunner of electric mobility in India, entered the e-mobility field on two wheels.
The upcoming Mahindra e-scooter, which is learnt to have inputs from Mahindra Genze, is powered by a 3Kw motor and is expected to have a range of around 80 kilometres on a single charge, along with a top speed of around 55-60kph. Little else on the eco-friendly Mahindra two-wheeler is known at this stage.
Interestingly, even the made-in-Pithampur Peugeot E-Ludix electric scooter has a 3kW motor.
Mahindra Electric upping the ante
Meanwhile, Mahindra Electric, the company's e-mobility arm, is driving towards complete self-sufficiency. Its upcoming EV powertrain plant in Chakan, near Pune, has seen an investment of over Rs 200 crore and will produce key components of an EV powertrain – EV battery, motor, transmission and power electronics. The company, as Autocar Professional had reported earlier this year, is also open to making EV batteries in "partnership with a global player keen on setting up a lithium-ion cell manufacturing operation in India.” Typically, setting up a lithium-ion cell plant takes 2-3 years to set up. For India, only a mega factory or a Tesla-like Gigafactory would make sense to be future-fit.
Mahindra Two Wheelers already has experience in manufacturing / assembling electric two-wheelers. In September 2019, Autocar Professional broke the news about the company, which has a manufacturing plant at Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh, having shipped its first batch of made-in-India electric Peugeot E-Ludix two-wheelers to Mahindra-owned subsidiary Peugeot Motocycles. With this, the E-Ludix from Mahindra Two Wheelers became the first electric two-wheeler to be exported to the EU.
On September 26, Anand Mahindra had tweeted: "Bon Voyage to our 1st batch of electric 2wheelers—Made in India. A global network helps: they’re being shipped to our subsidiary Peugeot Moto. And though it’s not viable yet to sell our genZe & Peugeot electric bikes in India, you can count on us being in the game at some point."
The first shipment of the Peugeot E-Ludix marked a new trajectory for Mahindra Two Wheelers. Its plant in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, which has ample manufacturing capacity of 750,000 units per annum, could be soon buzzing with some more gusto. Stay tuned in.