Eight months after Mahindra and Ford had announced to explore a strategic partnership to work on electric vehicles; Mahindra has shared details about the recent development. And carandbike can now confirm that Mahindra Electric, a completely owned subsidiary of the Mahindra & Mahindra which expertise in Electric Vehicles will lead the alliance by providing the technology to develop new electric vehicles. Exclusively speaking to carandbike, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director and CEO, Mahindra & Mahindra said, "The alliance is not concluded yet. We are still working on as to what the alliance should exactly be and we are looking at the vehicles' platforms that Ford has. But even in that alliance the electric technology comes from Mahindra Electric. The alliance is for sharing the vehicles' platforms and not for the electric technology which comes only from Mahindra Electric and Ford could also use that."
As Dr. Goenka informed, Ford will be providing the platforms for the electric vehicles which both the automakers will together come up with while all the other essential software, hardware and technological build up which includes Battery Packs, Powertrian system (Motor and transmission), power electronics which is the DC-DC charger and motor controller will be developed by Mahindra Electric. "Mahindra Electric has changed its focus from doing electric vehicles to doing electric powertrains. Mahindra (the SUV major) now will be manufacturing electric vehicles so that Mahindra Electric can become a brain like Intel Inside to be the developer and supplier of EV technology and powertrains. We will do a complete range, ranging from low voltage like 48 kW and 72 kW which we already have to high voltage like 380 volts and 650 volts and power ranging from 90 kW (120 bhp) to 150 kW (210 bhp)," added Dr. Goenka while speaking to the media. On being asked about partners and if Mahindra is looking for other customers, Dr. Goenka said "We will be in a position to supply these powertrains to other OEMs." However, it is still not clear whether the EV technology and platform sharing will be limited only to the Indian market or Ford will also use it for other global products. An e-mail sent to Ford remained unanswered.
Sharing more details about powertrains, Mahesh Babu, CEO, Mahindra Electric said, "Other than the 48 volt and 72 volt system that we have in the e20 and e-Verito, we also are almost ready with the MESMA 2 platform which will underpin the electric iteration of the S201 SUV that Mahindra is developing and further can be used in multiple applications. It will get a 380 volt system coupled with a 150 kW battery pack and will have a range of 250 km. We also have developed an even more powerful 680 volt system that was demonstrated in the e-COSMO range and this too can be used in multiple applications (electric SUVs and electric busses). We are expertizing in the powertrain system and Mahindra along with other OEMs (carmakers) will use that system."
Mahindra has also allocated an investment of ₹ 400 crore to Mahindra Electric which will be used in next three years for setting up a global Research & Development (R&D) centre in Alur near Bangalore where hardware and technological development for all the electric vehicles developed under Mahindra marquee and the Mahindra-Ford joint venture (JV) will happen. "We are investing ₹ 400 crore in a global R&D centre which will be housed in Bangalore. Along with the expansion of our current plant, Karnataka government has also given us 14 acres of land to set up a global R&D plant. We will be putting design centres and testing labs for Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of electric vehicles. The critical components- Battery packs, Powertrain system, Power Electronics (DC-DC chargers), motor controller and the software will be developed here," said Babu.
Adding to it Dr. Goenka said, "Right now we have over 400 engineers working with Mahindra Electric and that count will go to 1000 in next two years when we employ more at the Chakan plant where Mahindra badged electric vehicles will be manufactured." Dr. Goenka shared that Mahindra is investing ₹ 500 crores at its Chakan plant where the electric iterations of the KUV1OO and the above mentioned electric S201 SUV will be produced. "We will have two manufacturing hubs. All the low voltage i.e. 48 volt and 72 volt manufacturing will keep happening in the Bangalore plant while the high voltage like the 380 volt which will power the models to be launched in the middle of 2020 will be manufactured in Chakan. Powertrains will come from Mahindra Electric while the vehicle will be developed by Mahindra," said Dr. Goenka.
Along with the engineers, Mahindra will also increase the production capacity of electric powertrains form 2000 units which the Bangalore factory has to about 5000-6000 units which will be added in next two years with a new assembly line coming up at the Chakan facility near Pune.