Mahindra’s electric drive towards sustainable mobility for climate change

Mahesh Babu
MD & CEO, Mahindra Electric Mobility Limited

In 2018, when the Paris Agreement was signed, the consensus was to limit global warming by greenhouse gases to well below 20C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.50C.

During this time, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), India’s leading manufacturer of utility vehicles and part of the USD 19.4 Billion Mahindra Group, pledged to align with Paris climate agreement, and announced its commitment to become a carbon neutral company by 2040.

M&M is working on its carbon neutrality commitment with the international non-profit organization Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which works with leading companies to raise the bar for corporate sustainability leadership. It will continue to work with EDF and other leading partners as it implements actions towards achieving carbon neutrality.

M&M is also a signatory of the science based targets initiative (SBTi) which provides companies with a clear pathway for reducing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal.

Mahindra Electric Mobility Limited, the wholly owned subsidiary of M&M is the pioneer of electric mobility in India and it is the first company in India & the 2nd worldwide from the automobiles and components sector, for getting approval by science based targets (SBT) for reduction in greenhouse gas emission targets shared by us.

For India, development is a priority but it has to be achieved keeping sustainability in mind. Thankfully, India’s energy mix has been getting cleaner to cater to the additional energy demand that will arise. Energy consumed per capita in kg of oil in the US is almost 10 times that of India currently (US – 6804, EU – 3207, India – 637. Source: World Bank). Our country’s commitment of setting up 100 GW solar capacity by 2022 (175 GW total energy from renewable sources) as part of the International solar alliance (Initiated by the Government of India along with France) is a testament of India’s focus on moving away from fossil fuel for power to ensure sustainable growth.

The Indian economy is urbanizing rapidly. According to the World Bank by 2050, over 400 million Indians will move to urban areas. By 2030, India will have 7 mega cities with a population of over 7 million.

Different countries will approach the concept of e-mobility differently. For instance, India is a unique market for automobiles. Adoption of EVs in the three-wheeler segment is growing faster than that of the other segments due to lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). India is leading the world in terms of electric three-wheeler sales (83% of all India EV sales in 2018) and the Mahindra group believes that the EV growth story for India will revolve around three wheelers.

Mahindra Electric is revolutionizing India’s last and first mile commute

Over the last five years, shared mobility has grown exponentially in India. Increasing urbanization has seen an increase in corporate commute and despite the presence of cab hailing aggregators, majority of Indians opt for public transport creating a huge demand for last and first mile commute. Seeing an opportunity here and with the aim of taking e-mobility to masses, Mahindra Electric has designed India’s first electric three-wheeler platform with the Mahindra Treo. Mahindra Treo addresses issues of short distance commute, a few kilometre or less, to get from your origin to the nearest transportation hub. Electric three-wheelers and new-age micro-mobility segments will drive the EV category growth. Going forward, the last and first mile segment will be further enhanced by the electric quadricycle segment that will offer clean and connected mobility solutions. Mahindra will be launching the three-seater Mahindra Atom electric quadricycle which is practical, spacious and futuristic, later this year.

Building the EV ecosystem

Mahindra Electric is not just an electric vehicle manufacturer but a complete EV technology solutions provider. The company has demonstrated its expertise in the EV space with the MESMA 48 V platform for electric three-wheelers and small cars, as well as the indigenously built MESMA 350 V powertrain that is set to electrify global SUVs in Korea and Europe. Mahindra Electric also showcased its range of chargers, branded as ME chargers, towards developing the EV charging ecosystem. The entire EV ecosystem is supported by NEMO, our Next Generation Mobility platform for connected mobility that helps fleet operations to plan their EV rides more efficiently and our personal EV users to remotely monitor various parameters of their car.

Creating a differentiated portfolio

Mahindra plans to launch new products that are differentiated for the segment they cater to. The existing Treo range of electric three-wheelers, will soon have a cargo variant. Mahindra’s eKUV will offer a good price positioning, ensuring it will appeal to the personal and the fleet segments. It will meet the requirement of the value-conscious and cost-conscious fleet segment. It will also meet the demands of the personal consumers who drive in and around the city.  Our electric XUV300 will offer a range of 375 km in a full charge and will cater to the personal mobility space as it will have the range, performance and comfort required to meet the personal mobility needs.

Experience of over 230 million km on the Indian roads & counting

With over a decade of experience and clocking over 230 million km on the Indian roads, Mahindra Electric has a good understanding of the economics of EVs.

Mahindra treo parked in Raipur City, India
Mahindra Treo three-wheelers in Raipur city, India

With the strong demand for mobility that will arise due to rapid urbanization in the future, we believe electric vehicles will play a key role in decarbonizing Indian cities by providing clean mobility solutions. India’s car penetration is just 22 for every 1000 people compared to 980 in the US and 850 in the UK. CO2 emissions per capita in India is around 1.7 metric tonnes today compared to 16.5 metric tonnes in a country like the US according to the World Bank. CO2 emissions cannot be sustained if our car penetration reaches US or UK numbers.

The shift towards electric mobility is inevitable. Globally, while one might argue that so far the sales of electric cars are a small percentage of the sales of ICE cars, the EV industry has instead proved to be more stable and reliable, while undergoing the process of evolution. While EVs have a long way ahead, automakers have made significant progress in addressing key pain points for consumers considering to switch to EVs i.e. cost of acquisition.

For EVs, the last decade was to prove itself and now this decade is to popularize and drive profits, both to OEMs and environment. The EV industry has indeed made significant progress on battery technology and addressing customers’ range anxiety issues. With rising costs of gasoline and diesel across the globe, it is expected that EVs will account for over half of total car sales by 2035.

As economic growth fuels demand, mobility for a billion needs a fresh look in India. In order to build the nation responsibly, shared and multi modal electric mobility solutions are the way forward for creating mobility for a billion people. To achieve a cleaner transport sector, a combination of measures need to be implemented: planned and better-designed cities, non-motorized transport facilities, more public transport, and on-road fleets being converted to all-electric.

India’s resolve towards sustainable development and commitment towards green mobility options, will make it a key player in global sustainability and Mahindra is ready to play a major role in driving sustainable mobility for a greener planet.