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Mahindra to make most of electric strength

Australia-bound: Mahindra Reva, which sells electric cars in 24 countries, is about to launch its long-awaited NXR in India.

Indian giant Mahindra plans to leapfrog other car-makers with electric vehicles

5 Jun 2012

By JAMES STANFORD in MUMBAI

INDIAN automotive brand Mahindra plans to leapfrog established brands with a new range of electric vehicles it plans to sell globally, including Australia.

The industrial giant, which is best known for its tractors, has yet to make a road-based passenger car but has big plans for Reva, the Bangalore-based electric vehicle manufacturer it acquired in 2010 and renamed the Mahindra Reva Electric Car Company.

Mahindra Automotive plans to continue producing off-road and utilitarian vehicles such as the Pik Up workhorse ute, Genio ute and rugged domestic market off-roaders such as the Bolero as well as the new XUV 500 SUV, which was made for global markets.

It has no plans to produce sedans or hatches with regular petrol or diesel engines, but will instead use its new Mahindra Reva division to introduce an electric vehicle and compete with established automotive players who are now turning to EVs.

“We are not going to ignore that (passenger car) segment, but we are going to address it in a different manner,” said Mahindra international operations chief executive Ruzbeh Irani.

“So, rather than try to do a me-too of what others have done much better than us, we want to leap-frog that process by going to where consumers are already going, which is into electric vehicles.”“We believe that, in what you call the passenger vehicle segment, the electric vehicle segment is really the tomorrow of that segment.

 center imageFrom top: Reva-i Reva NXG.



“It really is the vehicle of the next generations, not only in terms of CO2 values but also what it can do.”

Mahindra expects it to be profitable, especially as the business model includes more than just the purchase price of the car.

“There we are not only offering a transportation solution, you are offering a complete mobility solution,” said Mr Irani.

“There you are also providing all the electronics necessary, all the connectivity in the vehicle (including charging stations).

“Reva is at the cutting edge of electric vehicle technology and is coming out with a range of new products in the next six months.

“These will be launched in India also, but are essentially for global markets.”

The company last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Victorian government to explore “the potential for research, supply chain development, and manufacturing of clean technology vehicles in Victoria”, although there is currently no plan to begin local production.

Regardless of whether any local production plan makes it past the initial stage, Mr Irani said the electric Reva models would find their way down to Australia.

“I don’t think it will come immediately, but over time it will,” he said.

Reva currently sells one small electric city car, the Reva-i that dates back to 2001 and is also known as the G-Whiz, but is set to launch a new version called the NXR with the latest battery technology and fresh design.

There is also a possibility it will build a sporty two-door electric vehicle called the NXG, which was previewed along with the NXR as long ago as the 2009 Frankfurt motor show.

Reva exports its EV to 24 countries, including 1700 sold into Asia and South America, and a further 1800 into Europe.

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