SUV maker Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has ambitious plans to become a global player in electric vehicles (EVs), although it has lost some opportunities. A fresh start in four-wheel electric vehicles, detailed plans for which are due to be announced in the UK on August 15, 2022, is fueled by plans to play in the global electric vehicle market. A global game is also planned for its ICE vehicle business.
“We will have a global game with our current vehicles. As we also transition to electric vehicles, we expect our new vehicles to achieve the same level of demand that we are seeing for some of our current vehicles. It’s not just the powertrain, it’s also everything that goes into the vehicle. And therefore we will be a strong global player, it is something that we will build over a period of time,” Anish Shah, MD, M&M, answered a question from ETAuto, at a press conference to announce the company’s financial results on Monday.
M&M’s game in the electric vehicle industry is now limited to three-wheelers. In the electric passenger vehicle market, it has lined up 8 launches by 2027. About 5 of them will be “born electric”. The new offensive is expected to be led by electrified versions of the Mahindra XUV 300 (in a longer 4.2 meter avatar) and the compact KUV 100.
According to a source, validation work on the electric XUV 300 is underway, while the electric KUV 100 (eKUV100) has encountered some difficulties regarding its battery supply. M&M had launched the eKUV 100 with a price of INR 8.25 lakh, at Auto Expo 2020, but failed to hit the market.
The powertrains for the electric KUV 100 and XUV300 are expected to be owned by M&M, while the “born electric” models would run on Volkswagen’s (VW) MEB platform subject to successful discussions between M&M and VW.
“For the moment, it is a partnership agreement. Should be converted to supply agreement as we finalize all commercial terms. Hopefully we should soon,” said Rajesh Jejurikar, ED, Automotive and Agricultural Sectors, M&M.
As the global megatrend of electrification grows, collaboration is increasingly becoming the name of the game. While VW may become a key partner in M&M’s revised EV strategy, it may not be the sole OEM partner as the business progresses. “We have a great relationship with them (VW), access to a very strong set of components from their platform, and we’ll explore what other partnerships there are. We’re still open to that, but at this point, it’s more about the ecosystem that we will consider partnerships for,” Shah said.
OK, there’s still a lot to do.
Starting with the new Thar, launched in October 2020, M&M has seen a change of fortune. The XUV 700, which made its debut in September last year, added to the recovery momentum. “M&M has made a good turnaround in its market performance so far, but there is still a long way to go for the company’s long-term sustainability,” a stock analyst said. Many people would be watching M&M’s detailed EV strategy unveiling in August.
It has been 12 years since Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) acquired Reva Electric Car Company, by the former OEM management team, to harness the megatrend of electrification and be a major player in the electric vehicle space on four wheels. Things haven’t progressed as expected so far, and counterpart Tata Motors has stolen a march on M&M in the small but growing electric vehicle market. However, M&M looks to the period until playing a “practice match” before a “test match”.
M&M’s investment plan for its automotive business, including electric vehicles, stands at INR 11,900 crore between FY22 and FY24. From being an electric car manufacturer following the acquisition of Reva, there was a strategic decision to become an electric vehicle technology/powertrain provider.
With a realigned strategy now under a different management team, a new test awaits M&M in a landscape set to be the future of the automotive industry. Along with the domestic market, a global market strategy could help exploit growth opportunities. The global electric car market, according to automotive business intelligence firm Jato Dynamics, more than doubled in 2021 to 4.2 million units.
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