Mahindra presents its five electric SUVs based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform

Mahindra has announced in a video presentation the launch of five electric SUVs for the Indian market to be marketed under the brand names XUV and BE. All of them have been designed in Mahindra Advanced Design Europe of the United Kingdom from the modular electric platform MEB of the Volkswagen Group. The first of them will arrive in 2024 under the name XUV.e8. the other four, XUV.e9, BE.05, BE.07 and BE.09 should be available before 2026.

The carmaker Mahindra is one of the most popular in India, where electrification is beginning to gain a foothold, although it is very far behind other markets. However, it is presented as one of the most important bets for many manufacturers in the near future, as it is a developing country with a large potential volume of buyers. A situation that is already beginning to be palpable in the two wheel industry whose electrification is reaching the Asian country.

In this context, Mahindra seeks to accelerate change. In May of this year he signed a collaboration agreement with Volkswagen so that the Indian brand would use the German company’s MEB platform and create its new electric cars on it. The firm thus became the second Volkswagen customer to use this electric modular architecture after Ford, which will begin production this year of its first electric SUV based on it, which will be built at its plant in Cologne, Germany.

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VW Group Chief Technology Officer Thomas Schmall (seated left) and Rajesh Jejurikar (seated right), CEO of Mahindra’s automotive business, exchange documents during the contract signing ceremony of the collaboration agreement between the two groups . Photo: Autonews.

The MEB platform for other brands

The MEB platform is an architecture that allows the Volkswagen Group to manufacture all kinds of models from it, from urban utility vehicles (with a modified version) to compact cars, SUVs and MPVs. In all of them it uses the same components, including the battery, which provides a large economy of scale, crucial, according to the company, to make electric vehicles profitable. This platform is now being used all over the world, producing vehicles in Europe, China and the United States. By 2022, they will be offered 27 models based on her.

In addition, another advantage offered by a flexible platform is the possibility to be used by other brands, thus becoming a new line of business for the German group that could be very profitable. In this case, the agreement with the Indian brand contemplates the production of more of a million vehicles during the duration of this contract. “The partnership not only demonstrates that our platform business is highly competitive, but that MEB is well on its way to becoming one of the leading open platforms for electric mobility,” said Thomas Schmall, member of the Volkswagen Board of Management. declined to provide financial data on the deal but said it would result in a significant operating result comparable to that of a midsize brand within the VW Group.

Mahindra’s five electric SUVs

Mahindra’s five electric SUVs will be sold under two brands XUV and BE. All of them have been designed in the Mahindra Advanced Design Europe in the United Kingdom from the MEB platform, which in the case of the Indian manufacturer has received the name of inglo. One of the advantages offered by a flexible platform is the possibility of including batteries of different sizes and therefore with different capacity and autonomy. In the case of Mahindra they will be available between 60 and 80 kWh. The manufacturer also ensures that they will offer fast charging, although it does not indicate the power that they will reach, but they will recover the 80% of its capacity in 30 minutes. The autonomy that each model will homologate was not specified either.

The first of five electric SUVs will hit the Indian market in 2024 under the name of XUV.e8. the other four, XUV.e9, BE.05, BE.07 and BE.09should be available before 2026. The Indian automaker expects electric models to account for 20 to 30 percent of its total SUV sales by March 2027.

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Mahindra is the local leader in electric three-wheelers, but currently sells just one of four, the e-Verito.

Electric mobility in India

Today, the company sells some of India’s most popular combustion engine SUVs, such as the Scorpio and Thar. Mahindra and is the local leader in three wheel electric vehiclesbut currently sells only one of four, the e-Verito. Producing a range of clean vehicles is crucial for Mahindra to break rival Tata Motors’ stranglehold on India’s fledgling electric car market. Another of the brands against which it will have to compete is Ola Electric: the electric scooter manufacturer plans to start producing electric cars in 2024 with a range of up to 500 kilometers and prices below 50,000 euros.

The development of the electric vehicle market in India has been left behind compared to other important countries such as China, due to the poor charging infrastructure and the high initial price to get hold of one of them, in a country where purchasing power is very low. The decarbonisation of transport is key for India to meet its goal of becoming net zero carbon by 2070, as it is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

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