Mahindra intends to introduce the electric version of its same-named SUV in 2023, replacing the fossil-fuelled model. Recent years have seen a steep rise in sales of electric vehicles (EVs) thanks to Tata, Ola, and Simple Energy, to name a few. In contrast, Mahindra believes the market isn’t ready for EVs just yet. They are also confident that their plan to launch electric vehicles two years from now will be advantageous because of their strong portfolio. Ten years ago, Mahindra sold the e20, an upgraded version of the ageing Reva, and enjoyed first-mover advantages.
In an exclusive interview with, Rajesh Jejurikar, Executive Director, Auto and Farm Sectors, Mahindra Group, expressed his belief there was still hope and added, “We do not see EV space heating up as it does not reflect in numbers.”. As the personal space moves toward EVs, we expect them to pick up in two to three years. He also feels the segment is not yet ready for evolution and is a small segment for SUVs. The category is also going to be very big in the commercial market, and we have the three-wheeler and small four-wheeler portfolio to cater to that.” He continued, “The XUV300 will be the first SUV to undergo an EV conversion and will go on sale in 2023. After that, many EV models will be launched and we are exploring the possibility of new designs as well.”
Moreover, Mahindra has also said it will tailor its eKUV100 model for the fleet segment, slated to be launched in mid-2020. As a result, the company believes its plan for a 130-150km range will suffice for its intended purpose, and that its electric hatchback will be suitable for shared mobility when it is plugged in in the evenings to top-up its battery. According to Dr Pawan Goenka and other Mahindra and Mahindra officials, a public offering would need a much higher price range to appeal to private buyers. By increasing the battery size, there would be an increase in costs that would make the vehicle unaffordable.
In the past few weeks, another homegrown manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki, revealed that it has no plans at the moment to enter the EV market, instead of focusing on supplying CNG to its vehicles. EVs don’t have enough market penetration to justify their launch currently, according to them.
Mahindra’s Plan For Electric Cars
In a statement, Jejurikar does not contradict the EV market, saying that at present they do not have any EV SUV models, but they hope to have the entire lineup ready in two to three years. Various models are expected to be derived from ICE and others will be born-electric. We are focusing on becoming future-ready as part of our strategy. In other words, when we are out there, we need to come equipped with the newest products, the newest technology, and wow customers with something that will make our brand more valuable.
In response to a question about whether he feels uncomfortable about jumping in second, he answered, “I don’t.”. The time is right for entering the market and launching a well-suited offering in this case. As a consumer, first-mover advantage is of very little significance with any technological product that you see.”
Market exploitation will be done by the company that brings the best technology at the right price and at the right time. The innovation that comes at the right time and with the right price creates the S-curve in any technological evolution. “We’re thinking about how to keep our portfolio future-ready while preparing for the future,” he said.
The electric car and SUV markets in India currently booming
There are already many car manufacturers that have begun embracing electric vehicles in a variety of segments. Among the budget and midrange cars, Tata Nexon and Tigor EV are the most widely available, followed by Hyundai Kona and MG ZS. As a first-mover in the luxury sector, Mercedes-Benz launched the EQC, followed by Audi e-Tron Sportback and SUV and the newly announced e-Tron GT. Jag brought its SUV, the I-Pace, to the show as well.
In addition, American automaker Tesla registered its office in Bengaluru, as it enters the Indian market. Mahindra should follow suit soon, especially since all these cars are already in the Indian market or headed there in the near future.