NEW DELHI: Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is focusing on developing 3-4 electric vehicles in the Rs 8-10 lakh price bracket as it aims to bring in models that are affordable for masses and help in reducing air pollution.
The home-grown auto major, however, has not ruled out an electric SUV and may bring out a model in the next 3-4 years based on group firm Pininfarina’s design inputs.
“We are focusing heavily on vehicles that can go into the Olas and Ubers and become the prime mover for the masses in the commercial segment, in the personal mobility segment, in the aggregators, that is our prime focus,” M&M Managing Director Pawan Goenka told PTI.
The company’s focus currently is to bring 3-4 affordable electric vehicles which will be more of “Rs 8-10 lakh kinds”, he added.
Elaborating for developing easy-to-own electric vehicles, Goenka said pollution could be reduced only if more and more people are able to buy electric vehicles.
“Globally, people are working on electric vehicles that are high performance, high powered and sell at a significant premium over petrol and diesel vehicles. The view that we have taken is the reason we want to do electric vehicles is to help clean the environment which means that it has to be mass affordable, it cannot be a niche segment,” he explained.
India does not have the same kind of subsidies many other countries offer on buying electric vehicles, Goenka pointed out.
“India has about 2,000 dollars (subsidy). There are countries which have 10,000 dollars, therefore we cannot have a very high-end vehicle because nobody will buy it and it does not even serve the purpose. What if 200 people bought it? It won’t help much in curbing pollution,” he added.
Goenka, however, did not rule out an electric SUV from the Mahindra stable in future.
“It is not that we won’t do SUVs because that is what creates an image. So for image, we have to do things like that. Dream is to work on a Pinifarina SUV which is moving on an electric powertrain, but we are probably 3-4 years from that, we are still starting on that,” he added.
Goenka termed the government support as critical for expanding the segment in the country.
“The problem right now with electric vehicles is that the government has always talked about the segment, but the seriousness that is there now was not there before,” he said.
“Now the Prime Minister himself is pushing the ministries to come up with sort of details to make electric vehicles viable,” he stressed.
He said subsidies for electric vehicles is sufficient and the real issue is lack of charging infrastructure.
“Somewhere, the cycle needs to start and I am hoping that the next financial year will be the year of electric vehicles and a lot of demand will come in,” Goenka said.