Let’s face it, personal transportation is staring down the barrel of a grim end. Whether this domino effect will start with the advent of autonomous electric cars or the continual growth of ride-sharing technology, or both is unclear, but the path has been charted. To further that cause, a report in the Times of India says that the 19-billion dollar Mahindra group will also be looking into the ride-sharing and taxi-aggregation businesses on the lines of Uber and Ola. As the transport industry loses out to rising fossil fuel costs and over congested cities slowly starve for buyers, the preferred form of transport becomes ride-sharing and hail and go services, Anand Mahindra fears most for the “plain vanilla sedan” which is likely to make a hasty exit much sooner than expected. Mahindra, however, have set their sights on the future and they seem to have been on this course for a while now albeit silently. The most important of which is their involvement in Formula E. While it may seem like a frivolous waste, racing has always been a hotbed for technological R&D, which eventually filters down into consumer vehicles. The biggest example of which is regenerative braking, which is called KERS in Formula One and is used to give the race car a boost in power courtesy an electric generator which gathers its power from the kinetic energy lost in braking. Mahindra’s E20 features the same technology but uses it to regain power to charge the battery and add kilometres to its range.
The report also states that Anand Mahindra does not expect growth in the Automotive sector without ridesharing. While most of these remain as plans, Anand Mahindra also said that while the plan is still in an ideation stage, they are certain that they will not enter the market with a cash burning model like Uber or Ola, but will stick to a more brick and mortar level and search for niche solutions. He added that something on the lines of Mahindra Thars available for rent in Goa will have a huge appeal while not burning tonnes of cash.
Mahindra has also expressed interest in building low-cost spacious urban electric taxis as well as software solutions in the ridesharing space. They will incubate these businesses for the future. Like they have recently invested in a San Francisco startup called Scoot Networks that rents out scooters for urban mobility. Ending saying that the Millennial mindset wants to have access to vehicles without the hassle of ownership, and with demand follows supply.