Mahindra Group calls for more investment in e-cars

Mahindra Group, one of India’s largest utility vehicle manufacturer, has called on the government to allocate budgets for setting up infrastructure required to boost eco-friendly electric car usage in India.

“As far as the government is concerned, what we are happy about is that they are trying to push for electric vehicles to be used. It’s on the infrastructure side where we would like to see more effort coming in and the government to sponsor such initiatives,” said Pawan Goenka, Mahindra & Mahindra Group president (auto & farm sector).

“The effort should be to allocate budgets for setting up infrastructure for charging, which will be very useful,” he told PTI on the sidelines of Formula E at Battersea Park in south London.

The USD 16.9-billion Mumbai-headquartered conglomerate’s Mahindra Racing became the only team to represent India in the recently-concluded Formula E event in London.

It was approached for the inaugural event supported by the world motor sports governing body FIA as among the few manufacturers of electric cars commercially.

“Electric vehicle infrastructure will start only in a few cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad and once we have a critical mass of vehicles, then it can go into the suburbs and highways connecting these cities. It has to be a long-term plan,” he explained.

The infrastructure spike would also be related to a gradual increase in the volume of e-cars being sold.

“The UK today sells around 30,000 electric vehicles a year and is expected to hit 50,000 this year. So they are in a ramp up curve. Comparatively, India has less than 1,000, so there is some catching up. It almost becomes a chicken and egg situation where you cannot put up infrastructure where it’s not really being used,” said the senior executive.

The group’s Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles Private Limited is behind India’s first automatic electric car with e2o and plans to launch an enhanced version of the model in the UK in the first quarter of next year.