Mahindra & Mahindra to focus on electric cars in 2015

By Editor


Automobile major Mahindra and Mahindra is keen to focus on the electric vehicles market despite its “disappointing” performance in the segment and would shortly be modifying an existing diesel variant to be powered by an electric motor, a top company official said here Friday.

With its premier electric car E2O hitting the market one and a half years back, the company is keen to diversify its presence in the segment. It will launch an electric sports car Halo and revamp the disel-run Verito with an electric powered engine.

“I must admit that the performance of electric vehicles (EVs) in India has been poor – almost disappointing and the reason for this is several fold; not the least of which is there is no government subsidy,” executive director Pawan Goenka told media persons here.

Goenka said his company – India’s largest SUV car maker – has been able to sell only 250 EVs in the last 8 months.

Mahindra E2O“We were hoping to cross 100 (sales of EVs) a month,” he said when asked about the company’s sales projections when it entered the EV category.

Explaining the cause for the poor pick-up of the EV segment, he said apart from the lack of government subsidies to promote green technology, charging stations and infrastructure needs to be developed in India and consumer perception towards the EVs has to change. Also, much work is left to be done in product development.

“We have set up 50 to 60 charging stations in Delhi and Bangalore where the sales are happening and the Karnataka government has encouraged us by setting up charging facilities,” Goenka said.

Despite the low sales figures and the challenges, the car maker is banking on the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 to address the concern of subsidies.

“If you want to focus on Make in India in a big way, certain things require government push”, Goenka added. The company will “continue to invest in Reva”.

The company had acquired a 55.2 percent stake in Bangalore-based electric vehicles designing and manufacturing firm Reva in 2010.

Goenka also said the company is considering introducing EVs in the taxi segment and would focus on exports to Western Europe, island countries and India’s neighbours aiming to export at least 1,200 units per annum.

Previously, the company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Bhutan to promote the usage of electric vehicles in the Himalayan nation.

Besides, the auto maker will be introducing three new petrol variants to regain its market share in the overall SUV segment.

Its sales declined 13 percent in November with a registered sales of 32,100 units including utility vehicles, cars, three-wheelers, trucks and passenger vehicles.


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