MM’s departure from ‘no frills’ strategy in personal EV dents its market share in upcoming e-mobility space


M&M is without a regular electric passenger car as its sole EV, the eVerito, is produced only against confirmed orders, with the last one being produced in December 2020. But the company has lined up a plan to unveil a full-fledged EV portfolio in 3-5 years. The only EV space it has a serious presence in is commercial vehicles, where Mahindra is the leader with its three-wheelers

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Mahindra & Mahindra’s strategy for electric vehicles (EV) does not include ‘very small’ and ‘very affordable’ personal vehicles, signalling a strategic shift in the company’s brand positioning for its larger EV play.

Anand Mahindra, Executive Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), said that the company is working at different levels of product development to create a ‘Wow!’ EV portfolio that would fructify in the next 3-5 years. This would be a significant departure from the no-frills e20 (Reva), which M&M used to drive into the EV space.

“The electric four-wheeler is going to be a slightly longer-term story. We would say 3-5 years is a fair horizon for it to come into its own because the cost of ownership is really not as good. We are not planning to get into very small, very affordable EVs,” Mahindra said, addressing shareholders at M&M’s 75th annual general meeting.

Losing ground to Tata

Seasoned shareholders who have been with the company for decades raised multiple questions on M&M’s strategy in the personal EV segment, where despite being among the earliest entrants in the segment, it has lost space to another home-grown heavyweight, Tata Motors.

Launched in January 2020 Tata Motors’ Nexon EV has a market share of more than 70 percent in the domestic four-wheeler EV segment. New entrant MG Motor is second, followed by Hyundai, with each having one model. M&M is without a regular electric passenger car as its sole EV, the eVerito, is produced only against confirmed orders. The last eVerito was produced in December 2020, as per disclosures made by M&M.

‘Make’ versus ‘buy’

At least a quarter of M&M’s Rs 12,000 crore capital expenditure (capex) for the next three years, is dedicated to development of the EV business. The company is working on offering fully electric powertrains on its existing petrol/diesel-powered vehicles as well as building new EVs from scratch. Also called ground-up EVs, M&M is evaluating buying such platforms. In the pipeline are electric variants of the KUV100 and the XUV300, which are lined up for launch in 2022 and 2023.

“Our EV investments focus on creating a ‘wow!’ product portfolio. For the personal segments, our EVs will also carry our authentic SUV DNA. So, some will be towards electrifying our ICE (internal combustion engine) offerings and some will be towards the born-electric platform, where we are doing a detailed evaluation of ‘make’ versus ‘buy’,” Mahindra added.

Dominating the e-CV space

Though M&M is trailing in the personal EV segment race, the Mumbai-based conglomerate is the dominant leader in the electric commercial vehicle segment with its range of electric three-wheelers. The company is readying more EVs in the commercial category, including the launch of its first quadricycle, Atom.

“We are leaders in both passenger and load-bearing electric commercial vehicles. We have the last-mile mobility vertical that focuses on driving sales of the Treo, Atom and Alpha products in the B2B (business to business) segments, which is where we think there is substantial growth potential for affordable EVs,” Mahindra added.

Going by the demand graph of the Rs 14 lakh Nexon EV, where Tata Motors has confirmed orders for 14-16 weeks, consumer interest in electric vehicles has been seeing a robust rise over the past several months. Besides fuel prices being at an all-time high, demand for electric vehicles is also being fuelled by generous incentives doled out by the Central and State governments.

“Central and State governments are encouraging customers to adopt EVs. Given the driving experience that EVs offer, we are expecting a 30 percent market conversion to EVs by 2025 to 2030,” Mahindra added.