The Verito electric, which was showcased at the 2012 Auto Expo, the electric versions of the small trucks – Maxximo and Gio – or for that matter any more electric vehicle from Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) will hit the market, only if the government lends a helping hand for electric vehicles (EVs) in the form of subsidy.
Mahindra & Mahindra’s first EV, the e2o, has sold only a little over 400 units since its launch in March this year. The extremely high price tag of over Rs 7 lakh for the small eco-friendly car has been the main reason.
“Because of the pricing situation, that product is not performing anywhere where we had thought. Not a very big impact on Mahindra’s financial performance but still very important for us in terms of the future,” says Dr Pawan Goenka, president, automotive and farm equipment sectors, M&M.
M&M says it will be ready to launch the electric Gio and Maxximo before the end of the current financial year. The electric Verito will be ready for launch by May or June 2014. M&M has made it very clear that these vehicles will be launched only if there’s government support.
“If subsidy doesn’t happen, probably the e2o will be the only product that we will have in India,” says Dr Goenka. He is disappointed as he feels India is losing out on a good opportunity in the EV space, due to lack of action by the government, which announced, in January this year, an ambitious plan of 6-7 million electric/hybrid vehicles on Indian roads by 2020.
“There’s been an announcement by the PMO that the cess fund that’s available for R&D in the automotive industry will be utilised for immediate subsidies for EVs. That has also not happened,” rues Dr Goenka. He adds that M&M is “clearly waiting for it” and is certainly willing to “work very hard” in the EV space.
Even as there’s a lack of government support in India, M&M sees good opportunity for success for its EV business. Norway and the UK are the most promising. Currently, it is selling the e2o in Nepal and plans to launch the EV in Sri Lanka soon.