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27 May 2017

The Mahindra XUV Aero will likely be all-electric

Dual motor set-up with 400+bhp? Sign us up

Amaan Ahmed
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Remember the Auto Expo-busting Mahindra XUV Aero? Of course you do. It was such a hit with the people of TopGear.com, the traffic made our website buckle. There has been no word on the future of the swoopy-roofed Mahindra since then, but now, we have news for you.

At a press meet, Mahindra Electric chairman Dr Pawan Goenka confirmed that an all-electric version of the XUV Aero is currently awaiting approval.

"The Aero is one of the options in our new EV plan. We have not as yet taken a final call, but it has been sent for approval. We will definitely have one or two high-end electric SUVs".

Now for some background.

A few days ago, the National Institution for Transforming India – also known as the NITI Aayog – drew up a vision for the future of the Indian car industry. It said that by 2032, all vehicles on Indian roads – private and commercial – would be electric. To help bring this vision to fruition, among other things, the Government of India has even proposed to tax EVs at just 12 per cent under the new GST plan.

It is this aggressive new push for EVs that Mahindra wants to capitalise on. And for good reason – you see, Mahindra has a headstart in India in the way that it is the only carmaker to be selling fully-electric cars here. Yes, it has only sold a little over 2,700 units till date, but that number is bound to go up exponentially as the authorities make EVs a feasible and lucrative option. Mahindra states that it intends to sell up to 5 million EVs a year in India, a number which, as Goenka states, seems "unrealistic but not impossible".

Under its new plan titled 'EV 2.0', Mahindra is going all-out. It is working on more powerful 380-650V systems – the ones it currently uses are a 48 and a 72V system. It's working on eliminating range anxiety by boosting range to about 350-400km on a single charge, dropping charge times to just under an hour and developing gutsier motors with outputs ranging from 120 to 220bhp (and torque as high as 400Nm). What's more, it's even looking at single and dual motor setups, à la Tesla.

Target performance figures are 0-60kph times of 4 to 5 seconds, and top speeds will range from to 150 to 200kph. These numbers, mind, are for no model in particular – Mahindra wouldn't tell us which cars these statistics are for. Goenka did, however, tell us that it is also working on an electric SsangYong (Tivoli?) and a new "expensive, high-end product" with Pininfarina, which, being a fairly expensive offering, would not be meant for India.

While no further details have been shared, we can't help but dream. A dual motor configuration could mean an all-wheel-drive XUV Aero with as much as 400bhp and 800Nm of torque. While that could be the flagship car in the range, Mahindra may also look at building all-electric versions of the KUV and the Scorpio, which would be built to bring in the numbers. Of course, all of this is a while away: Mahindra will take at least another three years to bring its new, more capable range of EVs on the road and the supporting infrastructure will also have to grow at a similar pace, which is easier said than done. But if M&M can hit the target it's aiming for, the returns could be huge.

Tags: mahindra, ssangyong, pininfarina, xuv, tivoli, kuv 100, xuv aero

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