Wednesday, June 2, 2010

GM Pulls Out of Electric Car Partnership in India



Mahindra-REVA Force to Be Reckoned With

After last week’s announcement that Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra had bought Indian EV maker REVA to form the bigger, badder Mahindra REVA, GM has now decided it’s in their best interest to pull out of a partnership with REVA that had aimed at developing low-cost electric vehicles for emerging markets.

It seems GM didn’t feel that sharing EV tech with a company that will likely be a major competitor in the years to come was a wise move.

Although most denizens of the U.S. won’t recognize either the REVA or Mahindra names, both companies are turning out to be rapidly expanding successes in the burgeoning Indian auto space.

Mahindra has been building heavy duty farm equipment for the better part of 25 years, and sells much of it in the US. The company is also on the brink of releasing its popular lineup of SUVs and pickups to the U.S. market later this year. Their diesel compact pickup can tow 5,000 pounds, carry 2,765 pounds and get up to 30 mpg on the highway. It’s no wonder Mahindra already has over 24,000 people signed up to be notified when the trucks go on sale.

REVA has been selling EVs in India since 2001 and Europe since 2003. In fact, REVA is one of the most successful EV companies in the world to date, having sold roughly 3,500 of their REVA-i’s and REVA Li-ion’s in the last 8 years. At the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, REVA showed off the next generation of their electric vehicles, the REVA NXR (pictured above).

Given that Mahindra clearly has its eyes set on the US and European auto markets, the move to buy REVA was one borne of trying to play catch up in that realm. “The EV market is poised to grow significantly and we concluded that in order to seize the opportunity we needed the resources and experience of a major automotive manufacturer,” said Chetan Maini, Chief of Technology & Strategy of the newly-formed Mahindra REVA, as quoted in The Detroit Bureau.

In the end, the split between REVA and GM likely won’t hurt GM much, but REVA is gambling that they can achieve the scale they need to compete in the new world of EVs by going with a company much closer to home.

Source: The Detroit Bureau