The FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles) scheme came as reassurance for electric carmakers and reaffirmed that EVs are at the top of the government's agenda. Furthermore, Niti Aayog's proposal to impose a ban on combustion engine powered commuter motorcycles (below 150cc) and then the budget council moderating GST rates on EVs and promising certain incentive, built up on the plan and prompted carmakers like Hyundai and Audi to foray into the Indian EV space. However, we were still waiting for some news from established Indian EV makers. Finally, the pioneer in the Indian EV market - Mahindra has decided to play catch up and will launch its EVs which we already knew, were in the pipeline.
The homegrown automaker will launch three new electric vehicles by 2021 starting with the eKUV100 which will be launched at the end of this year. The Mahindra eKUV will be underpinned by a modified platform to accommodate the battery pack and will source power from a 165 kW (221 bhp) drivetrain which will offer a range of around 180 km. The electric iteration of the XUV300 which will be spawned by the new MESMA 2 platform will follow next year in 2020 and will be powered by a 380 volt system coupled with a 150 kW battery pack giving it a drive range of 250 km. We were also the first ones to report that Mahindra will lead the development of EVs in the alliance with Ford and the first electric product coming from that joint venture (JV) will be a Mahindra badged electric Aspire which will be launched in 2021 and will be cross-badged by Ford. The Aspire will get a 150 kW (210 bhp) motor, however, the details about its battery pack are still awaited.
Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director - Mahindra had earlier shared with us that Ford will provide the platform for all the electric models while the technology build-up and other hardware like Battery Packs, Powertrian system (Motor and transmission), power electronics which is the DC-DC charger and the motor controller will be developed by Mahindra Electric which is the brain of Mahindra's electric division. Mahindra Electric is also gearing up to become one of the major EV technology and hardware suppliers in the industry. Mahindra Electric's drivetrain system by 2021 will range from 48 kW which will be used in three wheelers and small vehicles, going all the way up to 650 kW which will be used in heavy class SUVs and electric busses. Mahindra is also working on an electric quadricycle vehicle which is likely to use the 48 kW drivetrain and will be assembled at Mahindra's Bengaluru plant where it will manufacture all its low voltage vehicles.
To jog your memories, the company had showcased the Atom and the Udo concepts at the 2018 Auto Expo and now the company is working to get into the electric quadricycle space. The eKUV100, eXUV300 and Electric Aspire will be manufactured at Mahindra's Chakan plant in Maharashtra near Pune where it has invested ₹ 500 crore to set up a new assembly line to roll out high voltage (380 kW and above) electric vehicles. Mahindra Electric will also requite to employ 600 more engineers in the next two years taking the count to 1000.
As the company plans to supply the EV technology even to its Korean sister unit- SsangYong, it has allocated an investment of ₹ 400 crore to Mahindra Electric which will be used in next three years for setting up a global Research & Development (R&D) centre in Alur near Bangalore where hardware and technological development take place. The company is also open to supply the technology and hardware to other carmakers.