EXCLUSIVE: Mahindra Electric chief explains the three important elements of connected mobility

EXCLUSIVE: Mahindra Electric chief explains the three important elements of connected mobility
Mahesh Babu Twitter
  • Speaking at the Business Insider Global Trends Festival, Mahesh Babu, the Managing Director and CEO at Mahindra Electric Mobility spoke about the role of technology to make electric vehicles more feasible for countries.
  • Safety, sustainability and enhancing user experience are the three important levers that auto manufacturers are focussing on when it comes to smart and connected mobility.
  • Mahindra Electric is the pioneer for EV in the Indian space. Under the Mahindra Electric brand, the group has launched over 5 EVs, ranging from cars to three-wheelers and three-wheelers mini to cargo vans.
With governments setting sustainable green goals, automakers around the world are working towards achieving a zero emission future. Incremental innovations have brought about a whole lot of disruptive changes in the sector. With technology and changing consumer preferences playing a big role in this transformation towards sustainable mobility.

“The auto sector is no longer a sector of manufacturing; we are looking at mobility as a new paradigm,” said Mahesh Babu, the Managing Director and CEO at Mahindra Electric Mobility.

Speaking at the Business Insider Global Trends Festival 2020, Mahindra Electric chief explained how technology could make electric vehicles (EV) more feasible for countries to achieve the goal of sustainable mobility. And he highlighted the three important pillars that OEMs are working around in the EV industry for connected mobility.

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“How do we make the customers productive, how do we make the vehicles safe, and how do we make them sustainable— are the three important levers, I would say OEMs are looking at, to do it,” said Mahesh Babu.

He also emphasised on the critical role that digitalisation plays in the auto sector, with companies ditching the traditional ways of reaching out to customers and shifting the focus to digital sales. “There are a lot of digital transformations happening, digital particularly— which is good to have,” he added.

EXCLUSIVE: Mahindra Electric chief explains the three important elements of connected mobility

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These are the three important levers of connected mobility, according to Mahesh Babu.

#1 Safety is the priority

Safety of the customers is the most important factor, according to Babu. People consider the best of the safety features when they plan to buy a car, and according to Babu, there are a lot of “fatal accidents” happening around the world, which need to be stopped by integrating technology.

“If you look at safety— I think autonomous has a different level, you have level 5, level 3 and level 2. Ultimately it is aimed at two things: one is to avoid pollution, to take care of the safety,” he added.
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EXCLUSIVE: Mahindra Electric chief explains the three important elements of connected mobility

#2 Sustainability — electric car as a power station

“The second one is about sustainability.” According to Babu, “EVs are no more isolated from the grid. Now look at EVs as a part of the grid, then we have V2G (Vehicle-to-grid) and G2V (Grid-to-vehicle) technologies.”

In Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) an electric car can return the electricity to the grid or by throttling their charging rate and filling the need of the grid. “And we can bring a lot of efficiency in both vehicles and the grid, and it will complement each other.”
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Giving an example, Babu explained that if a city has 1000 EVs and each of those have an average 50 KW battery, then actually through connected cars we can make it viable to feed the grid if the cars are not being utilised — at an appropriate time when the grid needs it.

EXCLUSIVE: Mahindra Electric chief explains the three important elements of connected mobility

#3 Enhancing user experience

“The third one is customer comfort and time,” added Babu. In cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, with road infrastructure woes, traffic logjams, and excessive rush during peak hours, people spend around 3-4 hours (on an average) commuting to work; and that is ‘very unproductive.’
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People are looking for ‘connected travel’, which allows them to work even during the commute. And that’s where OEMs can bring about a change, they are focussed on bringing wifi and home-like experience to make it easier for the travellers to stay productive even during their long commute.

“Like you need wifi, you need connectivity for people in the car. And how we can utilise the time if it’s family or if it’s products in the office, we need to create the ambience of the office or house in the car,” Babu said.

How digital transformation has changed the automobile industry over the last decade!

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From concept to customer acquisition in the auto industry — the digital push is playing a vital role. Babu highlighted that nearly 10 years ago, electronics and software formed about 10% of the manufacturing activity. However, as they progressed into EVs, that percentage shot up to 30-35%.

Smart and connected mobility is the future. “I would say, actually bringing efficiency is bringing in improvements in the product, and with autonomous EVs, I think that value will substantially grow from 30% to 50% plus. I would say, the auto industry is going towards the industry for providing mobility,” he added.

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