Anand Mahindra, the Chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra, a company that has big interests in electric cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles, is betting big on hybrids. Mahindra now owns Reva Electric, a Bangalore-based electric car maker. While Mahindra-Reva have plans of launching more electric vehicles in India, such as the Verito Electric sedan and Maxximo Electric pick up truck, a hybrid approach is in order for the more mainstream SUVs that Mahindra sells in India.
The automaker showcased a diesel hybrid version of its flagship XUV500 crossover at this year’s Indian Auto Expo. The XUV500 Diesel Hybrid is likely to be put into production in 2015. The XUV500 Hybrid will be the first diesel hybrid in the Indian car market and will also be the first hybrid car to feature a manual transmission. The diesel hybrid version of the XUV500 crossover is expected to be about 18 % more fuel efficient than the regular, diesel powered variant.
Mahindra’s bullishness on hybrid powertrain technology for its vehicle range has to do with the increasing demand on fuel efficiency by buyers and the increasing pressure by governments around the world that urge automakers to reduce tail pipe emissions through strong legislative action. Also, hybrids offer a more viable alternate to full electric cars, what with battery technology yet to catch up in terms of offering a longer range per charge.
In India, a National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020, seeks to subsidize electric and hybrid vehicles, in order to make them more affordable to buyers. Meanwhile, Mahindra has entered the Formula-E championship, which will see single seater Formula1 style electric race cars vying for top honours. Racing improves the breed and Mahindra’s foray into competitive electric car racing is likely to deliver the know how gleaned from the race track into street cars.