Mahindra Electric to conduct more pilot projects for E-mobility
Mahindra Electric, part of the Mahindra Group, plans to conduct more pilot projects across the country to learn how to optimise and add more value to its customers in the segment. The Bangalore headquartered company, recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Auroville, an experimental township near Pondicherry. After acquiring Reva Electric Car Company in May 2010, Mahindra Electric launched the electric hatchback e2o in 2013. Now, the company sells electric vehicles in different segments that include CitySmart hatchback e2oPlus, electric sedan eVerito, and electric commercial vehicle eSupro. “We will be doing more such pilots. With the learnings from the first pilot project, we will announce multiple products based on scalability in the coming years. We have not planned anything specific to South India. But, this is going to be a learning right now on how we can be a part of a smart city eco-system and on how we link mobility with power generation, sustainable energy, and app-based connectivity. For the initial pilot project, we are not looking at any funding. On later stages, based on the learnings we may do that,” Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahindra Electric, told AutoComponents India.
Recently, the company showcased its software integration platform NEMO and unveiled its energy storage solution. The app NEMO, Next-Generation Mobility, is a cloud-based platform that enables shared, connected and electric
services. It helps to address the barriers of adoption of EVs such as range, battery performance, and provides deeper insights into the vehicle performance. Being a cloud-based system, the company has no connectivity or security problems. It gives them connectivity across the globe with lots of flexibility and freedom, particularly in automobile sectors.
About the new app, Babu said, all the cars they sell are connected via a GSM sim. “NEMO gives us insights into battery life, how the customers are driving etc. This data help the users to optimise energy. How we are optimising energy, solar generation from our storage to charging the car and to the grid is the first key learning we are looking at. Second, what will be the type of mobility needs of a community and how we can address them through optimum product and service, thus bringing in multiple solutions. This learning helps us make the product more suitable to customer needs.”
“There is always an apprehension to customers about what would happen to the battery after a period of time. Today, we have 100 cars that have crossed 1 lakh-plus km. and, 10 cars that have covered almost 1.75 lakh km. We have the data and the cars are running still. Running 2 lakh km is something magical that is difficult even with a diesel engine. This brings in huge confidence for us and for our customers. By connectivity, you can predict if something is wrong and this makes it run longer. For example, if one owns a fleet of cars and they do not charge properly, we send a mail with the data and advise them. Most of the customers that Mahindra Electric gets are repeat or referral customers,” he said. The electric car company feels that after the 2017 Niti Aayog report and the government’s push for all-electric have created an interest among customers, investors and others. On the push for e-vehicles and renewable energy, the CEO said, “We were the only one to push e-mobility. The government’s idea to make all-electric has helped us and now everybody is believing it. The government has started to buy electric vehicles for its own fleet. The supplier community is energised now and going forward, everybody will look into it. Earlier getting renewable energy was unique. Now, it has become a global problem, and many have started implementing renewable energy programmes. About 25% of what we use is renewable energy and we have recently increased the capacity through solar. We also have plans to buy solar energy from farms and this will make us sustainable.”
Speaking about sustainability, Babu said that the company has decided to reduce carbon footprint in the manufacturing process. He said that the e2o plus was made in a sustainable way. “We do not have a paint shop. The colour is pre-impregnated, and we do not paint at all. This is because we do not want to create more pollution in making the car,” he said.
Going forward and looking at the future he said that the company is focusing on three main agenda: clean, connected and convenient. The e-vehicle company also have plan to bring autonomous vehicles but believes that it will come at a later stage. “Autonomous might come in by 2040-50 and will play a major role. We will start once we have achieved the first three focus points. It will happen but will take a lot of time as we have to bring in better traffic management system, disciplined driving etc. There is a high possibility of bringing it within a campus and at present, we are not prioritising it,” Babu said.
Mahesh Babu - CEO, Mahindra Electric and Minhaj Ameen, Coordinator - Integrated Transport Services, Auroville