Motorsports have often served as a testing ground for advanced technology that ends up on the road. And given his vast experience in Formula E, Mahindra seems to be on a similar path. Speaking of synergy with other Mahindra passenger vehicle (PV) units, Dilbagh Gill, CEO and team leader, Mahindra Race, told Autocar India in a recent interview: “Our road racing story is falling into place.”
- Mahindra Racing helps M&M secure high voltage systems
- The efficiency of EVs and composites are other lessons
- Mahindra Racing will contribute to the Born Electric project
Interaction between Mahindra’s racing and passenger vehicle divisions
“We [at Mahindra Racing] began to interact with all of Mahindra’s electrical properties, ”commented Gill. He mentioned that the racing team is already working with R Velusamy, Global Product Development Manager (Automotive), Mahindra and Mahindra, at Valley of Mahindra’s Search in Chennai.
“And now there have been changes at Mahindra Electric,” added Gill. While Mahindra Electric was previously a separate entity, Mahindra’s board of directors passed a resolution in March this year to embed it into the corporate structure. “So you’ll see a lot more change happening there, and I’m really excited about the Born Electric projects getting started as well,” said Gill. Mahindra Racing therefore appears ready to provide contributions to M & M’s “Born Electric” project which should spawn a range of models developed from scratch with electrification in mind.
The program will be led by Dr Uli Stuhec, a Ford veteran who recently joined the company as vice president and head of the Global Born electrical platform, and who is part of Mahindra’s North American Technical Center in Detroit, United States. “So yeah, I think the pieces fit together,” said Gill. According to the automaker’s official statement, two of its “Born Electric” SUVs will debut by 2025-2026.
In addition, the Mahindra Racing team has moved to new facilities in the UK which could further boost synergies. “As we go from race to road, I think the most exciting part is that inside this campus there are two buildings. The second building will be occupied by Pratap Bose and Mahindra Advanced Design Europe (MADE). So we have our racing building and electric car (design) development center in the same complex, ”said Gill.
Mahindra Racing Knowledge Transfer
Speaking of the specific areas where the racing division is helping Mahindra, the team manager said, “The first area where we can really help is composites. We have a better understanding of our composites now. Even in regular production, Mahindra is starting to take more and more interest in composites. An example of the contemporary car manufacturer’s approach is the Mahindra XUV700, whose tailgate is made of composite material, instead of pressed steel.
“The second part is that we are working on high voltage safety. Traditionally Mahindra has worked with low voltage, but as you increase voltage systems the safety standards change, ”commented Gill.
For reference, Formula E racing cars are built on an 800-1000V system, while Mahindra Electric legacy products like the eVerito the sedan used a 72V architecture. The company is, however, preparing to move to a 300V + architecture with its upcoming products like the eXUV300. “So we’re helping to work on the security systems there,” said Gill.
Learning about the efficiency of EVs
Efficiency and, in turn, range, is the name of the game when it comes to electric vehicles. And that’s another aspect that Mahindra Racing thinks it could make a significant contribution to. The team, with its partner ZF, has learned from his experience on the track that software can help achieve greater range from every last volt. Developing further, Gill said, “I think the most important area is software, because it is something that can make the difference between a low performance car or commuting versus a low performance car. high performance. Software can help it become more efficient.
The racetrack also taught Mahindra that riding style can have a significant effect on range – knowledge the race boss would like to pass on to people driving Mahindra’s electric passenger and commercial vehicles.
“We have to teach the driver to drive more efficiently, because driving has changed a lot. We started with three pedals (accelerator-brake-clutch in cars with combustion engines), it has become two pedals (with automatic transmissions) and now with electric cars it boils down to one pedal (considering braking regenerative). So how to work with one foot and keep that foot most effective has to be taught, ”said Gill. He added: “It’s a totally different mindset from the elevator and the hill.”
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