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Sub-$40K Mahindra EV could be on the way

New lease of life: Unloved as a petrol-powered SsangYong Tivoli in Australia, the platform could become a hit in all-electric Mahindra XUV 400 guise.

Mahindra using SsangYong Tivoli SUV as a base for new all-electric XUV 400

19 Sep 2022

BASED on developments in New Zealand, Australia could be on the way towards getting its first sub-$40,000 electric car if Indian car-maker Mahindra decides to bring its new XUV 400 to these shores.


On the run up to World EV Day, SsangYong owner Mahindra launched its first EV, confirming the SsangYong Tivoli-based small SUV would be sold in New Zealand soon.


Grafted onto Tivoli’s internal combustion engine platform, the XUV 400 could well be priced in the $35,000-$40,000 bracket, or even less based on information coming from across The Ditch.


By comparison, Australia’s most-affordable electric car, the MG ZS EV, sells for $NZ48,990 on the other side of the Tasman – more or less lineball with the Australian price at current exchange rates.


As such, the numbers look good for a Mahindra XUV 400 EV going for something south of $40K if given the green light by the company’s Australian HQ in Brisbane.


Mahindra head office in Mumbai told GoAuto the XUV 400 EV was “under consideration” but that for now the company preferred to focus on the upcoming launch of a dual-cab automatic PikUp ute and the Scorpio-N SUV in mid-2023.


An Australian Mahindra dealer contacted by GoAuto was ‘red hot’ on the idea of a price-leading EV, expressing keen interest in broadening their line up from the existing one model and moving quickly into the new energy space.


The Mahindra dealer – of which there are 49 Australia-wide – said they were waiting for more product to come through and broaden their market penetration as the ute and forthcoming SUV provided only a narrow opportunity.


Gauged by the exponential uptake of MG franchises as that company moves quickly to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, an EV could do the same for Mahindra, which has struggled for years to get a foothold in Australia’s automotive market while succeeding as an agricultural equipment supplier. 


“A sharply priced EV would blow the market wide open and put Mahindra on many more shopping lists,” the dealer told GoAuto.


But it is all pure speculation at this stage, despite the Mahindra XUV 400 EV confirmed to become available in New Zealand next year.


According to a report in New Zealand publication EVs & Beyond, a Mahindra New Zealand spokesperson has confirmed that the plug-in compact crossover is destined to arrive in local showrooms in 2023.


The Mahindra XUV 400 features a 39.4kWh battery pack said to take 50 minutes to top up from 10 per cent to 80 per cent using a 50kW DC fast charger. It has a claimed range of 456km, although most EVs with that kind of real-world range have a battery pack upwards of 60kWh.


It drives a single front-mounted electric motor making 110kW and 310Nm and is adapted from the petrol-powered SsangYong Tivoli with external styling changes.


While unclear how the NZ version of XUV 400 EV will be specified, export models include features like a sunroof, one pedal driving, over-the-air updates, dual-zone climate control and a suite of active safety tech.


Other underpinnings of the XUV 400 EV are lifted from petrol Tivoli, the two models sharing some styling lines in their same-size bodywork.


Being Tivoli-based means the 4200mm long XUV is a similar in size to the slightly longer and slightly narrower MG ZS EV, but the XUV’s 370-litre boot is smaller than the MG’s.


The XUV 400 will be something of a stopgap in Mahindra’s electric range before an all-electric range using platforms developed from Volkswagen Group’s MEB architecture go into production from late 2024.


When the new wage of Mahindra EVs was announced in August this year, Mahindra Automotive Australia marketing manager, James Halliwell, said that with India being a right-hand drive market, Australian sales of the brand’s forthcoming eSUVs were almost guaranteed.

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