The company is also in talks with operators in cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune, each with potential order size of 2,000-3,000 electric three-wheelers.
Mahindra & Mahindra, the biggest manufacturer of electric vehicles in India, is in talks with about 10 entities to supply 20,000 electric three- and four-wheelers, a top company official has said.
“We signed a MoU with the Thane Municipal Corporation. We are also in serious talks with at least 3-4 cities to set up fleet of electric vehicles. We will hopefully be announcing a project with Uber very soon and a pilot will be started later this month,” said Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra.
“There are some private operators who are talking of ramping up their fleet to 2,000-3,000 cars in 3-4 months in Delhi," added Goenka.
The high cost notwithstanding, several municipal corporations are adopting green mobility for the future. In addition, private transport companies that have got licence to operate in cities are also gradually shifting to zero emission vehicles.
The company is also in talks with operators in cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune, each with potential order size of 2,000-3,000 electric three-wheelers. "We are ramping up production of three-wheelers,” said Goenka.
Mahindra has a plant capacity of producing 1,000 electric three-wheelers a month. However, the company feels constrained presently to ramp up freely because of limited supply from its parts suppliers. Goenka feels it will take 4-6 months to reach the optimum production capacity at the plant.
In November last year, M&M launch four variants of lithium-ion battery powered three-wheeler under the brand Treo and Treo Yaari with prices starting at Rs 1.36 lakh. Goenka further added that the cities will add 40-50 units each of electric three- and four-wheelers with an option for a further ramp up.
M&M is the second biggest beneficiary of the institutional order of 10,000 electric cars from Delhi-based state-owned company Energy Efficiency Service (EESL). But in terms of value the Mumbai-based company’s order in higher than the order leader Tata Motors. M&M is committed to supply 4,950 units of the eVerito, the electric version of the Renault Logan-inspired sedan Verito.
“We are looking at a potential of ramping up (production) to 400-500 of eVeritos including the EESL order. We have several fleet application happening in Delhi. We have sold 10-20 vehicles to several fleet operators on trial basis and those who find it viable will put in more orders,” Goenka said.
To make electric cars more affordable a few state governments waived off road tax and registration fees. For instance, Maharashtra does not charge registration fee for electric three-wheelers. But this has not become a pan-India practice.
To make matter worse, the central government last week raised customs duty on electric vehicle parts including on lithium-ion cells. There are several manufacturers in India who make lithium-ion batteries but nobody makes the cells.“The government has imposed 5 percent duty on lithium-ion battery cells which were duty free until now. EV battery and EV cells were duty free. The eVerito which we sell will probably become Rs 16,000-17,000 more expensive. We will write to the government seeking a reversal of the duty,” added Goenka.