Ride-hailing firm to work with automaker on pilot project to deploy hundreds of vehicles in Hyderabad and Delhi
Indian car-maker Mahindra and Mahindra, along with ride-hailing giant Uber, have announced a pilot partnership to develop and deploy electric vehicles in India.
Uber has agreed to deploy hundreds of EVs in Delhi and Hyderabad by March of 2018. It may also expand the pilot elsewhere, according to Madhu Kannan, Uber’s chief business officer for India and emerging markets, in a talk with reporters in Mumbai reported by Reuters.
Uber will at first subsidise the cost of the electric vehicles while Mahindra will provide finance, insurance and service, although the length of the project is still unclear. “For how long this pilot will go on is difficult to predict … It will require adequate progress in engagement with our stakeholders before we plan to expand to other cities,” Kannan said.
It follows a similar partnership agreed with Ola to provide EVs and charging services in the city of Nagpur.
The government in India now intends that all new cars sold will be electrified by 2030, but while policymakers are keen that EVs play a role in the ongoing decarbonisation of the energy and industrial sectors, automakers remain sceptical that the high costs of batteries can be brought down to a level suitable for the Indian market.
Nevertheless, Mahindra managing director, Pawan Goenka said that: “Our collaboration with Uber is an important next step to help accelerate the large scale adoption of electric vehicles on share mobility platforms and meet the nation’s vision for EVs.”
Mahindra evidently wishes to establish itself in the EV market, despite muted success so far. Just last week it opened its first factory in the US, where chairman Anand Mahindra said it may look to produce EVs for the North American market. However, the company will be hoping that any EVs launched in the West – or indeed anywhere else – fare better than its short-lived e2o did in the UK.