India’s Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) may have a new partner in Germany’s Volkswagen (VW), for electric vehicles. VW and M&M are exploring the use of MEB electric components for Mahindra’s new “Born Electric Platform”. MEB (Modular Electric Drive Matrix) is an all-electric platform developed by VW, which can be used by different brands within the Group, as well as other manufacturers. VW already shares the MEB with Ford, a former partner of M&M.
Both parties announced today that they have signed a Partnering Agreement on 18th May to evaluate the scope of collaboration. Mahindra intends to equip its “Born Electric Platform” with MEB electric components such as electric motors, battery system components, and battery cells.
The Partnering Agreement evaluates the scope of collaboration – it indicates binding rules for the evaluation phase as well as the non-binding scope of supply. The binding supply agreement will be negotiated in a continued constructive and legally compliant way to conclude by the end of 2022.
Designed as an open vehicle platform, the MEB electric platform and its components allows car manufacturers to build their portfolio of electrified vehicles, quickly and cost-effectively.
The shared objective of the two companies is to electrify the Indian automotive market, one of the most important automotive growth markets and a key element in the global decarbonization of the mobility sector.
Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board of Management member for Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, stated, “Together with Mahindra, we want to contribute significantly to the electrification of India, a huge automotive market with enormous growth potential and high relevance for climate protection. It’s another proof point that the MEB is both technological state of the art and highly competitive in terms of cost. The MEB is thus progressively developing into the leading open platform for e-mobility, generating significant volume and economies of scale. That’s crucial for every company in the EV world and the key to competitive solutions for our customers.”
Commenting on the partnership, Rajesh Jejurikar, Executive Director, Auto, and Farm Sectors, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., stated: “We are very pleased to have Volkswagen, a significant global investor in the electric mobility space, as a strategic partner in achieving our ambitious Born Electric Vison. The complementarity of their extensive technology, innovation, and vertical integration in supply chains, will provide a framework to develop our next-gen “Born Electric Platform”, to be revealed soon in Oxfordshire UK.” M&M’s technology and design teams across India, UK, and Detroit are working on the new ‘Born Electric’ plan of M&M.
India is one of the Global Top-5 Automotive Markets with about three million vehicles per year. According to current forecasts, the market could grow to up to five million vehicles by 2030. So far, the market has been dominated by vehicles with diesel or petrol engines.
However, at the 2021 Climate Summit in Glasgow, India undertook only to register zero-emission passenger cars and vans, starting in 2035. As a result, the electrification of the passenger car segment is expected to gain significant momentum in the coming years. Industry experts anticipate that in 2030 more than half of all new vehicles will be fully electric.
Volkswagen’s MEB Electric Platform is already used by the Group brands Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat/Cupra as well as external partners. Responsibility for these partnerships has been assigned to the “Platform Business” unit created specifically for this purpose.
If things proceed as planned, the partnership with VW will be M&M’s first collaboration with a global OEM for its EV business, which started its journey with the acquisition of Bengaluru-based Reva Electric Car Company in 2010. In the overall automotive business, M&M has had a string of partnerships with mixed results.
The OEM, which started its automotive journey in the 5os by assembling Willy’s Jeep under license from the utility vehicle’s American maker, has had joint ventures with global majors like Ford and Renault too for passenger cars. An investment to acquire a major stake in Korean OEM SsangYong turned out to be unsustainable, and a joint venture with American truck maker Navistar got dissolved.
As the electrification megatrend grows globally, it will be in both M&M’s and VW’s interest to have mutually successful negotiations for collaboration and gain in the emerging EV era.