Unlike other affordable electric vehicles such as bikes, the Treo uses the costly lithium ion battery to reduce weight and increase its range.
Poor range, in the region of 40-50 km per charge, has been a major hurdle in the way of greater adoption of electric rickshaws in India.
Treo three-wheelers will however be available only in Bengaluru and Hyderabad in the initial phase, but will be made available in other places later, Mahindra said.
The pricing of the vehicle is highly competitive as diesel- and CNG-powered autos cost more than Rs 2 lakh in India, while petrol variants cost around Rs 1.2 lakh.
One key reason why the Treo costs so less is a scheme by the government of India to provide subsidies to electric vehicles. Taxes on electric vehicles are also far lower than those that run on conventional fuel.
Running costs are also far lower. While petrol variants cost around 2.5-3.0 per km to run, an electric auto costs only 50 paise per km in terms of fuel, and could cut the cost of auto-travel to as little as Rs 5 per km.
The variants of the vehicle include Treo electric auto and Treo Yaari electric rickshaw. Unlike regular auto-rickshaws, these models come with hard tops instead of canvas.
Mahindra said it has used “exceptional technologies and composite body panels” to keep the weight of the vehicle under control and deliver the 170-km range.
“It also offers the best in class comfort for passengers with one of the most spacious interiors in the segment and for the driver through its clutch-less, noiseless and vibration free drive, thereby reducing the overall fatigue of the journey,” it said.
The Treo is being built as part of Mahindra’s +ME initiative, under which the group plans to launch a wide range of electric vehicles.
The Treo has been built on an indigenous platform that can be used for launching other vehicles as demand for electric vehicles picks up, the automaker said.
M&M already makes India’s largest selling electric cars, the eVerito — priced around Rs 11 lakhs — and e20 Plus.
The recently launched eVerito offers a range of 110 km on a single charge, has a top speed of around 80 kmph and takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to charge.
The company also unveiled a Rs 100-cr manufacturing facility in Bangalore for electric vehicles today.
Also branded under the umbrella of +ME technologies, the facility will manufacture battery packs, power electronics and motor assembly and will increase the manufacturing capacity of Mahindra Electric to over 2,000 vehicles per month.
The company said it will employ around 200 people.
“The manufacturing hub inaugurated today is the next step by Mahindra in the Electric Technology space to increase local value addition and bring affordable EV technology to redefine mobility in India,” said MD Pawan Goenka.
“The Government of Karnataka has been very supportive in this initiative with their progressive policy framework for EVs.”
The company said the new hub aligns with Mahindra’s strong belief in an all-electric future and will help it launch new, futuristic EV products, concepts and solutions by rrevolutionizing its EV production.