Due to uncertainties caused due to Covid-19 pandemic, it will be difficult for OEMs to stick to launch schedules
Mahindra was the first OEM to introduce electric cars in the country. However, despite having the obvious advantage of being the pioneer it hasn’t been able to dominate the rapidly evolving electric car market of India. Tata Motors, Hyundai and MG Motor, are relatively late entrants but have been doing better in terms of sales of electric vehicles.
2019 saw introduction of multiple electric SUVs like Kona, ZS EV and Tata Nexon Electric. At the same time, there was no product launch from Mahindra’s end. In fact, due to the stricter safety norms which came into effect, its e2O Plus had to be shelved, as it could not comply with the new safety norms.
While there was not much of an activity on the sales front, Mahindra was busy readying up its next generation electric vehicle range. It had even displayed the eKUV100 (KUV100 electric) at the 2020 Auto Expo. Mahindra had also announced its pricing, which would have been INR 8.25 lakhs (ex-showroom, post subsidy).
However, due to the ongoing lockdown, Mahindra’s Sales & Marketing Head, Veejay Ram Nakra has stated that the launch of the eKUV 100 will get delayed. He hasn’t given details regarding the launch schedule, but it could take a while as most supply chains across the country are under severe stress. Mahindra’s major manufacturing units are based out of Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Igatpuri. All these 4 plants are based out of Maharashtra, which happens to be the worst-hit state in terms of the Corona Virus crisis.
As per Mahindra’s initial plan, the eKUV100 would have been aimed at companies offering ride sharing services, i.e. start-ups like Uber, Ola, Zoomcar and Drivezy. However, due to the Corona Virus outbreak, the future of shared mobility is under severe stress. There have been multiple surveys and studies which are suggesting that people would try to avoid public transport and prefer personal vehicles instead. It will be interesting to see, how Indian customers respond to the eKUV 100, as and when it is launched. Pricing-wise, it will be the most affordable electric vehicle in the country.
Talking about the micro electric SUV, it draws power from a 40 kW electric motor, which dishes out 120 Nm of torque and 53.6hp. Overall range from a single charge is claimed to be 147km. The battery will have DC fast-charging capability, allowing an 80% top-up in just 1 hour. Aesthetically, the eKUV100 looks very similar to the standard KUV100, except the front grille and some ME (Mahindra Electric) badges on the body.
In addition to this, launch plans of Mahindra XUV300 electric are also expected to get affected due to Corona Virus. Mahindra had announced to launch the XUV300 EV sometime next fiscal. It was showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo earlier this year. Once launched, the XUV300 electric will take on the likes of Tata Nexon EV. Mahindra had stated that the XUV300 EV will have a higher driving range when compared to Tata Nexon EV.