Depending on who you speak to, India's Mahindra & Mahindra might be best known in the States for the six-year saga of huge hopes and dashed dreams embodied in a small, diesel pickup truck, as a tractor maker pushing its way into a US market ruled by John Deere and Kubota, as the owner of Ssangyong, as one of the companies that tried to buy Aston Martin or as an automotive engineering firm providing product development services to almost every carmaker out there. It's that last division that gets headlines now, Mahindra announcing an expansion of its facilities in Troy, Michigan on top of the news that it's setting up a factory in Ann Arbor, Michigan to build its GenZe scooter.

The Mahindra North American Technical Center (MNATC) is an outgrowth of the first tech center set up by Mahindra Engineering Services (MES) in 2012, now called Tech Mahindra. Mahindra Engineering is – obviously – the contract engineering services arm that serves a variety of industries, including transportation companies from Navistar to McLaren to Seat. Rick Haas, the president and COO of the MNATC, told Autoblog that he had five subject matter experts working out of the Tech Mahindra building doing product development for Mahindra in Chennai, India. Those experts weren't involved with Tech Mahindra, simply "squatting" in the building while they worked on products in the home market. About a year later it was deemed that the product development team "was exceeding our expectations, [so] we decided to turn this small group into a proper PD team and start full vehicle Product Development out of the Detroit area."

Those five engineers have moved into their new building and are now, Haas said, "up to 42 heads, on our way to about 100 this year, and more after that as we build a proper automotive PD center here to support the global aspirations of Mahindra in our auto business worldwide." They'll be "100% focused on supporting Mahindra's OEM auto business," supporting the engineering team in Chennai, India. "No work will ever be done for other companies" out of the MNATC, Haas said.

The Ann Arbor facility will build the GenZe, an electric scooter with a 30-mile-per-hour top speed and a price tag of $3,000. The plant is scheduled to manufacture 9,000 scooters per year, with the ability to increase that to 20,000 per year if sales take off. They will be sold direct in California, Florida, Oregon and Virginia, and through dealers in other states. There's a press release below with more information.
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Mahindra Group expands its footprint in the United States

Unveils 'GenZe by Mahindra' electric two wheeler; inaugurates Tech Center in Troy

Ann Arbor, MI – May 9, 2014: Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder joined Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group today in Ann Arbor, to inaugurate the Mahindra GenZe electric two-wheeler facility and the North American Technical Center in Southeast Michigan. The Mahindra Group was also represented at this milestone event by Dr. Pawan Goenka, Executive Director and President - Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors. Consistent with Mahindra's 'Rise' philosophy of employing alternative thinking to drive positive change, these investments exemplify the company's commitment to developing transformative urban transportation solutions for cities around the world.

"Michigan provided us the perfect eco-system to step up our U.S. presence. We were able to draw on the terrific automotive engineering and manufacturing talent available in the state, to create industry leading initiatives for the United States," said Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group. "The North American Technical Center and GenZe represent important disruptive product incubators for the Mahindra Group. Constant innovation focused on improving the lives of our consumers, employees and the communities they impact is at the core of Mahindra's 'Rise' philosophy and we are delighted to see this come to fruition in the United States."

The Mahindra Group already has a substantial presence in the United States with IT companies, Tech Mahindra and Bristlecone and the world's number one selling tractor brand based on volume, Mahindra USA. The new Technical Centre adds to this footprint and reflects the Group's continued commitment to North America.

"We welcome global leaders like Mahindra to Michigan and applaud them for their product and engineering leadership. Hi-tech green manufacturing & R&D has been the cornerstone of our partnership and job creation initiatives and we are pleased to have the Mahindra brand grow its U.S. presence from Michigan," said Governor Rick Snyder.

GenZe by Mahindra Electric Two-Wheeler- Designed, Engineered and Manufactured in Michigan
The GenZe by Mahindra is the first urban transportation vehicle to be offered by the Mahindra Group and the only two-wheeled electric vehicle of its kind in the United States. The compact design provides consumers with exactly what they need – ease of travel, specialized storage and an impressive range of 30 miles with many industry first features. With the top speed set at 30 mph, there is no need for a motorcycle license to operate the GenZe in most states.

Mahindra GenZe selected Ann Arbor, Michigan for its manufacturing facility following a nationwide search. This facility has the capacity to assemble up to 9,000 vehicles per year, with the ability to ramp up to 20,000 vehicles if needed.

"We are excited to unveil the GenZe by Mahindra as the first electric urban two-wheeler designed and manufactured in the United States," said Vish Palekar, CEO, Mahindra GenZe. "The GenZe is conceived for students and urban commuters who are desperate to break free from congestion, tired of increasing gas prices, and the lack of convenient parking. With industry leading utility and connectivity features including the ability to charge anywhere on the go, the GenZe is the perfect lifestyle empowering vehicle for the American consumer."

Mahindra North American Technical Center (MNATC)
The MNATC is the North American Center of Excellence focused on providing Mahindra with globally competitive product designs and technologies in support of its future product portfolio. Presently staffed with more than 40 engineers with complete vehicle engineering design capabilities, the expertise and capabilities of the MNATC are instrumental in developing industry leading automotive platforms for Mahindra's global markets.

The new facility in Troy, Michigan provides both engineering expertise as well as vehicle prototyping capabilities in support of Mahindra's aggressive strategy to become a top global automotive brand within the next 10 years.

"The MNATC is delivering on its promise of world class product development as we take on complex global programs. Utilizing the automotive talent available here in Southeast Michigan, we're putting together a truly exceptional team of automotive professionals to meet Mahindra's future product development needs," said Rick Haas, COO, Mahindra MNATC. He added, "We are delighted with the opening of our expanded technical center, that provides us the infrastructure to design, engineer and prototype industry leading products and solutions for Mahindra's global customer base."

About Mahindra GenZe
Mahindra GenZe is dedicated to helping the urban commuter overcome the challenges associated with pollution, parking and the inadequacies of public transport. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Palo Alto, CA with a goal to develop sustainable urban transportation solutions, the GenZe by Mahindra electric two wheeler was conceived in Silicon Valley, the heart of innovation worldwide. It is being designed, engineered and manufactured in Ann Arbor, MI to the highest international and federal vehicle standards.

Mahindra GenZe is a Mahindra Group company with more information being available at

Mahindra North American Technical Center provides the technical expertise and product development excellence required to execute Mahindra's aggressive global product plans. The center can accommodate over 125 engineers and will grow to meet the future needs of the company.

Our seasoned staff of automotive professionals work in collaboration with the entire Mahindra product development team globally to provide its automotive business with a competitive edge as we design and develop future Mahindra products and solutions.

About Mahindra
The Mahindra Group focuses on enabling people to rise through solutions that power mobility, drive rural prosperity, enhance urban lifestyles and increase business efficiency.

A USD 16.7 billion multinational group based in Mumbai, India, Mahindra employs more than 180,000 people in over 100 countries. Mahindra operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, information technology and vacation ownership. In addition, Mahindra enjoys a strong presence in the agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defence, energy, financial services, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel, commercial vehicles and two wheeler industries.

In 2012, Mahindra featured on the Forbes Global 2000 list, a listing of the biggest and most powerful listed companies in the world. In 2013, the Mahindra Group received the Financial Times 'Boldness in Business' Award in the 'Emerging Markets' category.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      It had me interested until you look at the design and see there is no space set aside for a decent amount of batteries. Bring on the electric scooter I say. But this is not quite the one.
        • 1 Year Ago
        I agree, this is a big swing and a miss for a scooter. I really like scooters and think they are great urban runabouts. This design as presented has 2 huge design flaws. 1. No apparent decent sized battery. The floor board area appears too thin to contain the batteries which only leaves the small box under the seat. If this is the case that's a terrible design. You want the center of gravity as low as possible, not 2 1/2 feet off the ground. 2. No decent storage for stuff. One of the big advantages if scooters is they have large storage under the seat. Even if the small black box under the seat is storage which I don't think it is. It's way too small to be of any use. Can't store a helmet, groceries. Regardless, shockingly (pun intended) bad design.
        • 1 Year Ago
        It looks like something from Mattel....
      • 1 Year Ago
      The building in Troy already has their sign up. It is literally a block away from the Delphi headquarters.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Believe the building, and eventual sales of this scooter by Mahindra stateside when it happens, and only if it does happen. I'm no skeptic, but this company has made noise in the past of selling its pickup here after much fanfare and alas, to NO avail. Nothing came together. This may be another snafu of promises that the company may NOT deliver on. Time will tell... Peace... AladdinSane<-
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess I don't get it. To me the appeal of a scooter is that its convenient and cheap transportation. Most scooters are already 80-120mpg, so fuel costs are minimal over the short distances you typically ride a scooter. Apples for apples, ICE also offers far superior range and performance per dollar. So why would I want an electric scooter with Indian build quality (one step down from Chinese scooters), when I can get a plethora of high quality scooters like the high build quality Italian Piaggio Typhoon 125 for well under $3000?
        Cool Disco Dan
        • 1 Year Ago
        Insurance and licensing. Any ice above 50cc in many states needs a motor cycle license. Electric an under 50cc don't. A special license with mandatory and expensive classes turns many away from more economical 2 wheel transportation. These E-scooters would be perfect for city people or people like me who work close to home. Sure 3k is a steep price but thats what happens with new tech. Price will drop if sales take off and tech improves.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cool Disco Dan
          As far as I know, Nevada has no laws regarding electric scooters. That may be an interesting loophole. A scooter has
        • 1 Year Ago
        First, it's not always about cost - some folks want to have less environmental impact, regardless of cost. Second, ICE does offer a lot of advantages, but electric has it's own; torque, cleanliness (no fluids), low maintenance, quiet...
          • 1 Year Ago
          Ducman69: You're correct that an electric motor does not automatically have more torque than a gas engine. A gas engine for street applications needs a flywheel to store rotational energy to get the vehicle moving into the region where the engine will not stall. Nothing prevents an EV from also using a flywheel/clutch system as well, but a better option seems to be to use power electronics and gearing to get some of the same effect. The Tesla Roadster and Model S both supply very high initial torque. The torque curve is flat until around 40 mph where it starts to taper off and go into a "field-weakening" region where power is (more or less) flat before it too falls off. Most EVs with smaller motor controllers will be geared a little taller, to extend the constant torque region (but also reduce the absolute amount of wheel torque present). That's probably the class this scooter fits into, but we'll have to see until it is released. Also, clutch dumps are great on a drag strip, but not as useful in street applications. Consider standing acceleration vs roll-on acceleration.. both are important on the street. On a track peaky engines tend to do better, since they're being operated continuously in that maximum power region.
        Siva Kumar D
        • 1 Year Ago
        This is designed and made in US by USians!!
      • 1 Year Ago
      @ Ducman69 - at least their product quality doesnt value their country man's life at less than 57cents
      • 1 Year Ago
      We already have waves of counterfeit chinese electric scooters running around the streets.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        Tons of electric scooters running around streets is great. That's one less car being driven, many less barrels of foreign oil imported, and lots of pollution reduced. :)
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 1 Year Ago
        And that has what, exactly, to do with a very large Indian company desiging and building their own scooters??
      Lucid Renegade
      • 1 Year Ago
      Should have called it the Mahindra Fireball.
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