Mahindra's first electric two-wheeler is slated for launch in the US towards the middle of the year. A team at Palo Alto, California, is readying the vehicle that has been christened GenZe. California is known for its tough vehicle emission legislations. The Mahindra GenZe can be seen as a good example of legislation-led innovation.
The GenZe promises to be ‘the new fun, fast way to get around’. Reports suggest that the electric scooter will debut with a price tag of USD 3,000 (Rs. 180,000). It was first unveiled in the US in September last year. It has been conceived at Silicon Valley and ‘is part of a single global initiative from Mahindra to address the growing problem of transportation in crowded cities across the world’.
Sources indicate that Mahindra’s two-wheeler R&D centre in Pune also has a similar project buzzing with development activities and a prototype may also be in place.
The GenZe is a simple-looking scooter which scores high on utility. It is designed to carry the rider as well as groceries, laundry, or anything else that fits in the generous amount of space in the bucket behind the rider. Below the seat there’s space to carry a phone or a tablet and charge it too through a USB. Apart from the charger, other extras include luggage-carrying accessories and a wind-cheating windshield. There’s no speedometer but a seven-inch touchscreen in its place. The weather-proof touchscreen is much more than an instrument panel. It’s Bluetooth-enabled and monitors the battery charge status, range, diagnostics and route. The user can also use the GPS app or listen to music through it.
The GenZe is expected to have a range of around 50km and a top speed of 50kph. It will be driven by a 1.4KW (1.8bhp) motor. The vehicle will have a replaceable lithium ion integrated power module, which includes the battery pack, controller and the charger in one compact unit, giving it a high operational flexibility.
A similar technology is also being worked on by the EV team at TVS Motor Company. The GenZe’s engineering centre has professionals from top-rank automakers, and from some major universities’ engineering programs. As the GenZe is part of a global initiative, the scooter may also reach markets such as China and India later. Currently, China is a promising market, given the government support that EVs in general receive there. The GenZe's introduction in India may well be subject to how the new government takes the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan forward. For now, the USA will be the market where the GenZe will be launched first.