Plugging into a catch up in the race to go electric

S. Muralidhar | Updated on: Aug 19, 2022

Mahindra takes bold plunge into future of premium EVs, to launch at least 6 eSUVs in the next 5 years

For a company that missed making a bigger splash in the passenger BEV space earlier despite acquiring the Reva Electric Company (one of the pioneers in the EV space globally), Mahindra & Mahindra has put in place a massive catch-up and overtake plan. The SUV maker has just launched two brands that will have dedicated BEVs in their portfolio. One will simply be called BE and the other will be the XUV brand that is currently extremely popular and is being used for its ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles.

The company has developed an all-new, built from scratch, inhouse BEV platform called ‘INGLO’ which will be the basis for several new EVs that will be commercially launched starting late 2024. The platform type is the now popular skateboard platform that has become the choice of a lot of brands going electric. Mahindra says that the difference is that INGLO is a lightweight skateboard that helps in lowering vehicle weight and enables better packaging of the battery. Unlike the current body-on-frame SUVs that dominate Mahindra’s portfolio, the skateboard platform is ideal for EVs; they tend to be modular and safer within the context of electrics. 

Mahindra has also signed a contract with Volkswagen for sourcing BEV components, including battery cells that the German auto major currently manufactures for its vehicles and that form part of the latter’s MEB platform. Volkswagen’s modular electric platform (MEB) components including the electric drivetrain, the battery system and battery cell are part of the sourcing contract. The plan according to Mahindra officials, is to localise manufacture of these sourced components so that the costs can be kept low.

Mahindra officials also tell me that at least three of the eSUV prototypes that you see in these pictures are nearly 95-97 per cent production ready, and even in terms of design there will only be very few changes. Mahindra will also be looking to set up a greenfield manufacturing plant for assembling the new BEVs. Currently, the company is scouting for a location for the new plant. Company officials say that it could simply be a factor of which state government offers the most subsidies for setting up the facility.

Electric features

The new Mahindra electric vehicles are expected to feature LFP cells (lithium ferro phosphate) which offer higher energy density compared to the more common lithium-ion cells. Mahindra officials say that it will also follow a common battery pack design with lean modules and standardised cell-to-pack technology using two different cell architectures – Blade and Prismatic. The new eSUVs will be offered with battery pack options ranging from 60-80 kWhr capacity, and the charging system will be protected for an incredible 175 kW fast-charge and be capable of charging up to 80 per cent in less than 30 minutes.

Mahindra officials mention that the idea is to offer a sizeable battery pack to reduce range anxiety. However, this also means that the vehicles are unlikely to be priced in the lower end of the spectrum. However, eSUVs built on adapted platforms like the upcoming XUV 4OO could fill the gap below the Rs 20 lakh segment.

The powertrain is expected to include a compact all-in-one electric engine with motor-inverter-transmission integrated into a single unit. The vehicles will be offered with both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive options, developing as much as 170-210 kW and a whopping 250-290 kW respectively. The electric powertrains have already been tested extensively, and Mahindra claims that a standstill to 100 kmph acceleration can be achieved in between 5 and 6 seconds.

Mahindra engineering team also says that the new eSUVs will have high levels of safety built into them starting with the structural integrity and quality of materials used. The frontal design of the Body-In-White for INGLO platform vehicles will be enhanced with three load paths and a multi-piece dash panel with reinforcement. Excellent battery protection will also be ensured by using ultra-high strength boron steel. The new e-SUVs are expected to be capable of delivering Level 2+ autonomous driving with the use of five Radars-1 Vision ADAS architecture. Company officials claim that these vehicles will offer GNCAP 5-star level safety. They will also be capable of offering vehicle-to-load function (V2L) to draw charge and power other electrical appliances or transfer charge to another EV.

Upcoming eSUVs

Mahindra unveiled five eSUVs at the brand launch event in UK earlier this week. Three of them were production concepts under the BE brand and two under the XUV brand. While the INGLO platform vehicles will start rolling out from end 2024, Mahindra’s first BEV will be the XUV 4OO when it is launched later this year. This will be a eSUV built on an adapted version of the XUV 3OO’s platform.

Slightly larger in length and, of course, featuring an all-electric powertrain, the XUV 4OO would be Mahindra’s more affordable eSUV to begin with. While, this could help the brand test the EV waters, the main attractions will roll out one after another from 2024. Here are some brief bits of information about each of the five new INGLO platform vehicles that were showcased at the event earlier this week. 

XUV.e8

Launch:  December 2024

Dimensions: L x W x H:

4740 x 1900 x 1760 mm

Wheelbase: 2762 mm

A  performance and technology focused eSUV offering an intelligent all-wheel drive system capable and comfortable both on and off the road.

XUV.e9

Launch:  April 2025

Dimensions L x W x H:

4790 x 1905 x 1690 mm

Wheelbase: 2775 mm

An eSUV sporting a modern design with the strengths of an authentic SUV combined with the aerodynamic silhouette of a coupe. Will have intelligent interiors, with a panoramic sky roof.

BE.05 

Launch: October 2025

Dimensions: L x W x H:

4370 x 1900 x 1635 mm

Wheelbase 2775 mm

It is a Sports Electric Vehicle (SEV) with a bold, racing inspired design, making it part of a category of its own.

BE.07 

Launch: October 2026

Dimensions: L x W x H:

4565 x 1900 x 1660 mm

Wheelbase : 2775 mm

A large family eSUV big on space and comfort.

BE.09

Launch: TBC

Dimensions: TBC

A unique 4-seater SUV grand tourer with a chiselled design, dynamic roof and solid stance.

Published on August 19, 2022
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