Former sports utility vehicle market leader Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) will progressively spend Rs 300-400 crore in converting some of its existing diesel-powered SUVs to electric vehicles.
Mahindra Electric (formerly Mahindra Reva), an electric vehicle making division of M&M, is working on electric solutions for Scorpio and XUV500, the two most popular SUVs of the Mumbai-based company.
The stated investment will be over and above the Rs 500 crore the company is spending for technology and capacity creation of electric vehicles. M&M has already converted and launched EV variants of Verito and Supro.
An electric version of the Scorpio and XUV500 won’t come cheap though. An EV version of the Scorpio is expected to be priced not below Rs 12 lakh while the XUV500 could be priced at around Rs 15 lakh. At Rs 9.5 lakh the electric version of the Verito sedan is Rs 2.2 lakh more expensive than the base diesel variant of the car.
“While the powertrain will be developed by Mahindra Electric, M&M would invest in product design and development. The immediate focus would be to invest in converting some of the existing products to electric vehicles. The investment in this area would be in the range of Rs 300-400 crore,” said the company.
Large SUVs, including those made by M&M, is at the receiving end of the government’s drive to get rid of diesel-powered vehicles which it believes is a major source of pollution. The government will raise cess on such vehicles in the coming days.
The government’s endorsement of EV as the preferred choice of alternate fuel vehicle augurs well for the company. However, the availability of charging infrastructure and predictable tax incentive structure is mandatory for the industry to become mainstream, the company further added.
M&M is the only company to have not only launched and retailed EVs in India but exported from the country as well. e20 Plus is a new fully-electric car developed in-house by Mahindra Electric.
Pininfarina, the Italy-based design center partly owned by M&M, is working on a premium sports electric car while Korean car maker SsangYonng, which is majority owned by M&M, is working towards a 2020 deadline to launch a premium electric SUV.
“The company would be identifying technology partners for EV related technologies,” said the company.
Recently, the government invited global bids through Energy Efficiency Services (EESL) for procurement of 10,000 electric cars out of which 1000 such vehicles will be acquired in the first phase. These vehicles which will be used by government offices should be able to run 120-150 kms on single charge.
“The company would be participating in tenders for electric vehicles floated by the government. The company would be participating in 4-wheelers, 3-wheelers and bus segments as and when they are announced,” M&M further added.