Mahindra is developing hybrid technology that can be implemented on its SUV range with manual transmission so as to enhance the fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent. The company owns the world’s largest electric car company by production capacity, Mahindra Reva which currently sells the e2o hatchback, the world’s most affordable four-seater car that uses only battery power to propel. With 4 lakh micro-hybrid vehicles that ply on Indian roads, Mahindra has earned a positive image in sustainable green technologies. Mahindra is all set to take its green initiatives one step further by roping in technology experts to help the company develop full-scale hybrid vehicles.
Mahindra has partnered with Samsung SDI which has been creating innovative renewable energy and energy storage systems with cutting-edge technology. Samsung SDI will develop and provide lithium-ion batteries to be used in the range of hybrid vehicles by Mahindra. Mahindra is still fine-tuning the hybrid technology to implement it on various platforms and vehicles across the Mahindra range. Hybrid technology in essence involves fusion of electric motors and regular engines and further use batteries to store kinetic energy derived from motion and braking. Lighter materials are used on the vehicles and they are aerodynamically designed to reduce the drag and increase the fuel efficiency.
Hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Jazz, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Volt have set a benchmark in this technology with high sales numbers whereas all these cars are offered only with automatic transmission. Automatic cars are not as common as yet in India since they are more expensive and less fuel efficient. This has compelled Mahindra to go for manual transmission instead. It is expected to be relatively more compatible, more efficient and more adaptable to the range of vehicles sold across the globe. Other technology partners include ZF which is the largest component manufacturer and also tyremaker Continental.
In order to offset increasing fuel costs, companies such as Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Honda and Toyota are developing micro-hybrids, electric assists and start-stop systems so as to improve fuel efficiency by at least 5-7 percent. Mahindra is likely to offer full scale hybrids on the top-end variants of the XUV5OO and Scorpio. Mahindra eventually wants to offer hybrid electric vehicles while partnering with leading global technology companies and pioneering consultants. The company is currently disappointed over it e2o sales since it is nowhere near the projections. The government is currently inviting proposals to convert existing cars into hybrids so as to increase fuel efficiency by 20-25 percent.
The Toyota Prius is the only full-scale hybrid car available in India, priced from Rs. 29.3 lakhs to Rs. 31.6 lakhs (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The Mahindra e2o is priced at Rs. 6.3 lakhs while the company’s XUV5OO’s micro-hybrid variant starts at Rs. 11 lakhs and that of Scorpio start at Rs. 8.1 lakhs. Mahindra sure is taking all the right steps in the right directions and the outcome of the same is awaited.
Source – Economic Times