Medilytix Bureau: Mahindra & Mahindra is preparing new vehicles and investments while solidifying its production schedules as it continues to be “very optimistic” about the country’s steady shift toward the adoption of electric vehicles over the coming few years. A senior corporate executive claims that the Mumbai-based automaker anticipates the shift to electric mobility to occur gradually, with the fleet and sports utility vehicle segments slated to spearhead the change in the domestic market.

“Our internal research tells us that 25 percent of the existing SUV buyers would like to consider an electric SUV as their next purchase. The research also tells us that over the next 2-3 years, we will see this kind of transition happening, “Mahindra & Mahindra Executive Director (Auto and Farm sectors) Rajesh Jejurikar told PTI in an interaction.

He stated that the company expects 20–30% of its SUVs to be electric in five years. Mahindra has lined up five new electric sports utility vehicles (SUVs), with the first four expected to hit the market between December 2024 and 2026.

The automaker plans to roll out five electric SUV models under two brands. XUV and the all-new electric-only brand called “BE.” Legacy brands will come under the XUV marque, while the all-new electric model will be rolled out under the “BE” brand.

Elaborating on the trends, Jejurikar noted that the penetration of electricity in the domestic market will start with households with multiple cars. “Also, the fleet segment will move very quickly to electric as it makes economic sense for them,” he added.

However, the offtake for electric hatchbacks and sedans in the personal segment would be slow as customers would not like to pay a higher upfront price for the only car in the family without an adequate charging infrastructure in place, Jejurikar stated.

“In the SUV space, whether entry or mid-sized, there will be a much faster adoption as they are typically part of households that have more than one car,” he added. When asked if the time was ripe for electric mobility to bloom in the country, Jejurikar said: “It is both yes and no. Currently, penetration is 1 percent in the C segment and around 4 percent in the B segment. Is 1 and 4 percent going to go up to 30 and 40 percent overnight? “No, it is not going to happen.

He further said: “But we are going to see steps towards 10 per cent, 15 per cent, and that is why 20-30 per cent penetration in the next 4-5 years is a realistic road map for the segments which we operate in.”

Jejurikar said the company expects to take a final call regarding the manufacturing infrastructure for its electric sports utility vehicles over the next 3-6 months. The company has already unveiled its first electric SUV under the XUV brand—the mid-sized XUV 400, which will be rolled out from its Nashik plant in Maharashtra.

It is now in talks with 3–4 state governments, considering the incentives being offered, to finalise the production plan for the remaining products. “We probably will have to decide in the next 3-6 months,” Jejurikar said.

On investments lined up for the electric segment, Jejurikar noted that the company has already stated that the capital expenditure towards electric programmes over a period of three years would be in the range of Rs 8,000-9,000 crore.

“That is the immediate funding requirement for our electric strategy. It includes most of the investment around everything,” he stated. In July, impact investor British International Investment (BII) announced that it would invest Rs 1,925 crore in Mahindra & Mahindra’s new electric vehicle arm, “EV Co.”

With the chip situation easing and record bookings under the belt for products like Scorpio N and XUV 700, it could well turn out to be the best ever festive season and year for the company in terms of sales. “Hopefully, yes,” Jejurikar said when asked if the current fiscal could turn out to be the best for the company in terms of sales.

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