Mahindra Plans Low Cost EV For British Drivers


Mahindra means diesel powered tractors for most Americans. But the giant industrial manufacturer from India is also keenly interested in the EV market. It already fields a team in Formula E, the international racing series for open wheel cars. Unlike Tesla, which wants to build its electric car company from the top down, Mahindra is more interested in starting at the bottom and working its way up.  It will begin selling it no-frills e20 electric car in the London area soon.Mahindra e20 EV

The e20 EV is priced between £10,000 and £13,000, which is equivalent to about between $14,500 and $18,500. It has a maximum range of 75 miles. Its price is about half that of a Nissan LEAF in England. While the LEAF is a larger, better equipped car, half price is still a powerful sales tool.

Arvind Mathew, chief executive of Mahindra’s electric vehicle business, tells Enland’s The Standard, “We want to take [electric cars] out of the elitist market and make it more of a run-of-the-mill thing. Our product is really designed for city commuting, not for long distance driving.” He adds, “Our foray into the UK is purely electric, so it’s a big deal for us because as a brand we don’t exist. From the Mahindra group perspective, this is a huge deal.”

The target market for Mahindra’s E20 EV is young families looking to buy their second car. The e20 will only be available online and it will be delivered directly to the customer’s home. Repairs will be done at home by a fleet of mobile service vehicles. After sales begin in London, the company plans to expand sales to other British cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, and Milton Keynes.

Mahindra’s entry into the UK market started badly when it bought a company called Reva in 2010. Reva manufactured an EV known as the G-Wiz. A perfectly dreadful little car, it was the butt of numerous jokes on Top Gear. Mahindra will be swimming upstream against a tide of negative publicity for a while before customers begin to accept the e20 as something other than a rebadged G-Wiz.

Small urban commuter cars are part of an enormous market worldwide. They are much in demand in China, especially in rural areas where luxury motor cars are less important than basic transportation. By starting at the bottom of the market, Mahindra is following in the footsteps of some other manufacturers who have gone on to modest commercial success — companies like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia.

Note to Elon Musk: He who laughs last, laughs best. Don’t be too quick to dismiss Mahindra and its diminutive EV. At least not yet.

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • Daniel Spray

    Mahindra has already started at the bottom of the EV chain here in the US – you can now buy their GenZe branded scooters and electric bikes, which show a lot of promise.

    • Steve Hanley

      Thanks, Daniel. I didn’t know that.

      Everybody loves Tesla and Elon Musk. But inexpensive electric transport like scooters and small cars will be a huge market going forward. Everyone in Europe wants a Mercedes, but the truth is, Isettas and Fiat 500s and Citroen 2CVs are what millions of Europeans relied on for generations.

      The future of mobility is probably skewed more toward vehicles like the e20 than premium electric cars from Tesla, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, et cetera.

      • Daniel Spray

        I completely agree. Just watching the surprise success of Mitsubishi’s Mirage lets you know that there is a big market for small efficient cars. If we can start to see real electric cars (not neighborhood cars) in the same price range, we could see some real traction for electrics.

  • t_

    The first thing I thought of was “Ugh, the new model looks so ugly, just as the old one. The new one, however, can travel a much bigger distance. I would buy sch a car, but it is VERY ugly.

    • Steve Hanley

      It is a homely little contraption. I’ll give you that. Is there a law somewhere that says small, affordable electric cars have to be ugly?

      • t_

        I slowly begin to think, there is indeed such a secret law:-)