Electrification is certainly the way ahead for every carmaker across the globe. Likewise, our homegrown carmaker, Mahindra & Mahindra, has intensified its electric journey with the announcement that it will invest up to INR 3,000 crore in its EV business within the next three years. This comes on top of the INR 1,700 crore that Mahindra has already invested for its electrification plans in India along with INR 500 crore that they invested on a new research and development (R&D) centre. With such huge plans, it makes us wonder if the carmaker would come up with electrified versions of its modern offers, especially the Mahindra XUV700.
This new investment will be primarily used for the development of a new dedicated EV platform, which will be a first for an Indian carmaker. This new platform will be developed using Mahindra Group's various capabilities - Mahindra's Technical Centre in Detroit, Automobili Pininfarina and even Formula E - and will be used to underpin multiple models. Mahindra and Mahindra have also said that they are open to all sorts of alliances and partnerships for the development of future EVs.
As for the EV infrastructure, Mahindra already has an electric technology plant in Bangalore that produces battery packs, power electronics and motors. The company has also invested in a new manufacturing facility in its Chakan plant for manufacturing electric vehicles. That said, the carmaker does acknowledge that it's going to take some time for the EV business to develop in India as infrastructure won't come in until the cost of ownership is equal.
And that leaves us to speculate about the upcoming models that could be underpinned by this dedicated EV platform. Mahindra had already showcased a couple of compact EVs at the 2020 Auto Expo - the eKUV100 and the eXUV300. The eKUV100 is currently on sale only for commercial buyers. The eXuv300 is expected to hit the market in about a year so. Both vehicles are based on the Mahindra Electric Scalable Modular Architecture or MESMA platform. That said, the company could be looking at a much larger electric vehicle to be the flag bearer of their upcoming dedicated EV platform.
Given the recent hype around the upcoming Mahindra XUV700, we can't help but speculate that the first vehicle to be underpinned by the new EV platform could be an electrified version of the XUV700. The platform will be completely different from the ICE-powered XUV700's W601 platform. However, the name along with some of the interior and exterior styling cues could be used for the first EV based on this upcoming platform. Details are scarce at this moment and things are certainly in a speculative stage. It will, however, be very interesting to see how Mahindra's EV business develops over the years.