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M&M looking for a partner to help charge up electric dreams

Mahindra and Mahindra's Pawan Goenka said on Thursday that an EV partnership would include a potential stake sale in Mahindra Electric. (Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint)Premium
Mahindra and Mahindra's Pawan Goenka said on Thursday that an EV partnership would include a potential stake sale in Mahindra Electric. (Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint)

  • The EV partnership includes a potential stake sale in wholly-owned subsidiary Mahindra Electric, Pawan Goenka said
  • M&M plans to supply and export EV powertrains to other EV producers

NEW DELHI : Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), India’s largest electric vehicle maker by sales volume, is exploring partnerships with global manufacturers to jointly develop electric vehicles and their powertrains, managing director Pawan Goenka said.

This will include a potential stake sale in its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mahindra Electric, Goenka said in an interview on Thursday.

Unlike rivals, M&M has made its electric vehicle (EV) business a separate unit and has also set up a base for developing and manufacturing such vehicles and components on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Goenka said the global sales volume for EVs is still low, while the number of companies entering the segment is fairly large, which includes traditional automakers as well as startups.

“Therefore, collaboration will be the key in powertrain, which means the battery, the motor, power electronics and the charger. That’s the reason we have set up Mahindra Electric as a separate company, but now we have started to see how we can get strategic partners, so that we can pool in our volumes and create an electric powertrain supply company," he said, adding that the company would function like a consortium of manufacturers.

“We are talking to various OEMs who are interested, take equity in Mahindra Electric and become partners," Goenka said.

He said the EV business was still at an early stage. “Right now everybody is in a pilot phase and if am selling 100 vehicles (EVs) per month at a loss, then I can afford it. It will get lost in my remaining 15,000 vehicles but then if I am selling 10,000 vehicles, then I cannot afford to sell at a loss."

M&M has a track record of partnering competing carmakers to develop products and platforms. In the 1990s, it tied up with Ford Motor Co. as well as French automaker Renault SA, though both the partnerships were later shelved.

In October last year, Ford and M&M signed an agreement to form a joint venture in which the Anand Mahindra-led firm owns 51% and Ford’s local unit owns the rest. Under the arrangement, Ford agreed to transfer its entire business in India, barring an engine plant in Sanand, Gujarat, and its Chennai-based Global Business Services unit to a new joint venture company.

“I think it’s important to have that partnership to make electric vehicles commercially viable. Second partnership (after powertrain) will be at the platform level and OEMs who have developed a very well-engineered platform and they are opening that platform to others to license. Third will be sharing a product under different company names," Goenka said.

M&M plans to supply and export EV powertrains to other EV producers. On Wednesday, the company launched its latest offering in the EV space, eKUV at the Auto Expo, at a starting price of 8.25 lakh (ex-showroom).

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