Home Electric Vehicles M&M to majorly gain from EESL’s order for 10,000 EVs
M&M to majorly gain from EESL’s order for 10,000 EVs

M&M to majorly gain from EESL’s order for 10,000 EVs


On August 15, EESL floated a tender for procuring 10,000 electric cars and 4,000 chargers for the coal, mines, power and new and renewable energy ministries as well as for providing them on hire to other government departments, according to PTI. The tender is in line with the government’s and NITI Aayog’s aggressive – and ambitious – push for e-mobility in the country and aiming for an all-electric fleet by the year 2030.
Ready to capitalise on new business opportunities
For the Mahindra Group, its electric vehicle arm Mahindra Electric is fully charged and raring to capitalise on new business opportunities. Currently, Mahindra Electric has a capacity to assemble up to 5,000 electric vehicles (EV) systems annually in its Bangalore plant. After assembly, they are despatched to the plants where the vehicles that they go into, are produced. By 2019-20, Mahindra Electric plans to expand assembly capacity to 60,000 units a year. Towards that, it will build a new plant in Chakan, which may have an annual capacity of 48,000 units as the Bangalore plant’s capacity can be scaled up to 12,000 units with three working shifts in the next two or three months.
Electric three-wheeler in the offing
Mahindra Electric is also looking at expanding its portfolio of vehicles. Currently, it has the e2O hatchback, eVerito sedan and the eSupro van. A three-wheeler (four-seater and six-seater) will be launched soon. To be initially available with a lead-acid battery pack, the three-wheeler will also have a version with a lithium-ion pack later. A 32-seater electric bus, scheduled for launch in a year and a half from now, is also in the works. To sustain its leadership and continue to be a strong player in the EV market which is expected to take off soon, Mahindra Electric is investing on technology. “We are planning to offer dual-drive mode. The new powertrain will offer a top speed of up to 200kph,” said Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahindra Electric, in an interview to Autocar Professional earlier this year. A company presentation revealed that a 150kW with a 400 Nm, 15000rpm powertrain, 380V to 65V battery systems delivering up to 400km in a single charge, and 5X improvement in power density (183 to 1000w/kg) in electronics are some of the things what will find their way into future Mahindra EVs.
Battery swapping model for EVs
An EESL tender, dated August 4, also pushes the case for battery swapping for EVs aimed at keeping rupees per kWh and rupees per kilometre energy cost (opex) similar to the current rupees per kilometre fuel cost of petrol, diesel or CNG vehicles. This energy cost includes depreciation cost (of battery, charger, swapper and other infrastructure), interest cost, charging and swapping cost, as well as margins.
For this economic to work, the battery size is reduced and standardised to 1.5kWh x 2 modules for e-rickshaws and e-autos and 50 kWh for intra-city e-buses. Swapping also increases the life of the battery by 2-3 times through controlled charging in approximate two hours at 25degC. The e-rickshaw is expected to be operated at 35 Wh/km, whereas an e-Auto would operate at 45 Wh/km. e-buses will use 650 Wh/km or 850 Wh/km depending on their size. Battery swapping thus allows EVs to cost compete with ICE vehicles by keeping them in same capex and opex range. This viability will further improve with expected price drop in Li-Ion battery in future. Public mass transport vehicles like e-rickshaws, e-autos and city e-buses are the first chosen segments for battery swapping, given their intra-city operations, some certainty of the daily kilometres run and intermittent rest/wait times suitable for swapping batteries. Battery swapping can also apply to other public and private vehicle segments including 2-wheelers, goods-carrying 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers and others. Standard battery pack modules can be cross used across different vehicle segments. It can be surmised the Mahindra Group would also be interested in this business activity.
Government support for EV ecosystem vital for growth
Thus far, M&M has invested Rs 600 crore in the EV business which it acquired from Reva Electric Car Company by buying a majority stake in it seven years ago. “I must thank the Mainis (promoters of Reva Electric Car Company) for bringing M&M into the EV space,” said Dr Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra, in an interview to Autocar Professional earlier this year. The EV business is yet to turn profitable. Dr Goenka did not like to predict the EV industry volumes because he has “been wrong for six years” as the market did not develop as per the OEMs or the government’s expectations, but he is bullish on it now more than ever before because “there’s a real serious thrust from the government of India”. “The ability of Indians to switch to something new is very high. The onus is on us OEMs to bring products that are affordable, fun to own and aspirational. OEMs, suppliers and government have to work together for large scale electric mobility to happen,” said Dr Goenka. Mahindra Electric expects the government to support suppliers in investing on EV technology and remove constraints in the registration of electric vehicles wherever they are. With the NITI Aayog mobility transformation roadmap acting as a tailwind, large-scale electric mobility seems to be more achievable now than ever before in India.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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