In anticipation of the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in India, the Mahindra Group is looking to invest Rs5 billion in setting up a global R&D centre for EVs in Bengaluru and a high-voltage electric drivetrain plant in Chakan over the next few months.
At the launch of its electric three-wheeler Treo in Bengaluru on Thursday, Pawan Goenka, managing director at Mahindra and Mahindra, said cumulative investments made by the firm in electric mobility would reach Rs10 billion by 2020. The firm has already invested Rs3 billion in expanding its plant in Bengaluru to produce a peak of 1,000 units of the Treo every month.
This includes, the development cost for the company's first electric three-wheeler powered by lithium ion batteries. Mahindra Electric's unit will also continue to manufacture low-voltage drivetrains, which go into the Treo and its electric cars E2O and e-Verito. Drivetrains of higher capacity will be made at the company's upcoming plant in Chakan, which will become operational sometime in 2020. The plant for more powerful electric drivetrains will be ready in time for the rollout of Mahindra's higher-capacity EVs, including the S201, which the company says will be launched in mid-2020. While the vehicles will be manufactured at Mahindra's vehicle plants, the drivertrains will come from Mahindra Electric.
“For vehicles, we will be making them at the plants so there's no capacity constraint. The only constraint will be how many powertrains we can manufacture. This unit can produce 2,000 powertrains a month and the new unit can do around 3,000 units a month, so totally we can manufacture around 5,000-6,000 powertrains a month by 2020,” said Goenka.
While the plants have been built to a certain capacity, Goenka said their utilisation would depend on the demand for EVs in the country.
He refrained from sharing EV sales expectations citing that he's always been wrong when predicting when sales of the zero-emission vehicles would pick up.