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Pick-up trucks and EVs to help M&M accelerate global expansion – Autocar Professional

With new capacities coming on stream, Mahindra & Mahindra, the country’s largest SUV maker in terms of revenue, is looking to accelerate its globalisation plan that envisages more than doubling its international business in three years. Veejay Nakra, Ppresident of the automotive business at Mahindra & Mahindra, said the company’s aspiration would be to target double- digit market share in key regions of Australia, South Africa and certain Latin American markets, and that the company has devised a three-tiered international expansion strategy.

As part of a new globalisation plan, M&M plans to expand volumes in markets using XUV 700, Scorpio N and other legacy products, besides adding LHD variants for markets like Latin America. In phase II, once the battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are rolled out in India, the company would export these to the UK. Phase III would see the company looking at acquiring double-digit market shares in key markets, along with expansion into new geographies, selectively adding the markets for pick-up trucks and EVs. 

To be sure, Mahindra is the fastest growing brand in South Africa at present and has an assembly base there. Recently, it had launched the XUV 700 and Scorpio N in Australia; the products have received a very good response.

Currently, the exports merely account for about five percent of its total volumes. The company is exporting about 30,000 units annually. 

Autocar Professional understands the company may look to expand its annual volumes to over 80,000 units in three years. This could surely more than double the international revenues.

The company has not shared specific. But at an FY23 earnings conference, Anish Shah, MD of Mahindra & Mahindra, said the company was looking at a 2.5 times increase in its international business. 

M&M eyes the UK and EU with BEVs and global pick-up trucks for ASEAN, South Africa
Along with the SUVs, Mahindra & Mahindra is also looking at bringing an all- new global pick-up truck and EVs that were showcased in Cape Town in August. The new global pick-up truck has been designed keeping in mind the key markets of ASEAN, South Africa, Australia and Latin America. The EVs are being designed keeping in mind the evolved markets of the UK and Europe, too; the company may resort to an only-EV entry strategy in these regions. Nakra says, “EVs are at the core of our internationalisation plan. However, at present, we are mapping out the launch strategy for the pick-up trucks and EVs. We are currently analysing the potential of each of these markets and it will be a key pillar of the global expansion strategy.” 

While the company did not share any timelines for the launch, the start of production for the pick-up truck is planned for the middle of 2025. The project is codenamed Z121 and it is likely to be available in both single and double cab versions. The company is planning an annual volume of 48,000 units.

“Of the global market of five million pick-up, the segment we are targeting is two million units large. We are talking about addressing multiple needs of commute, lifestyle, off-roading and sports with this new mid-size global pick-up truck. It is built on key pillars of tough, versatile, truly capable, tech-first features, very high on safety,” added Nakra.

This feature was first published in Autocar Professional’s September 1, 2023 issue.

Also read
Home and the World: Mahindra charts out renewed global ambition

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San Antonio Zoo welcomes adorable meerkat pups to newly opened … – San Antonio Current

<a href="" rel="contentImg_gal-32700245" title="Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa. – Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo" data-caption="Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa.  
Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”> click to enlarge Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose  commonly found in South Africa. - Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo

Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo

Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa.

After an almost three-decade absence, meerkats have returned to the San Antonio Zoo with the birth of four adorable pups.

The birth of the meerkats, also known as Suricata suricatta, coincides with the reopening of a special habitat for the animals inside Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, zoo officials said. The previous meerkat habitat closed 27 years ago.

The revamped meerkat habitat now houses a larger and more active family of the mammals, according to zoo officials.

“These little meerkat babies are an absolute delight,” San Antonio Zoo CEO Tim Morrow said in a statement. “We are thrilled to offer our visitors the opportunity to witness these captivating animals up close and personally.”

Families can see the meerkats and experience the new facility during the facility’s annual Zoo Boo!, which runs through Oct. 31.

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Royal Enfield appoints AW Rostamani Group as official distributor for the UAE – Autocar Professional

Royal Enfield, a global leader in the mid-size motorcycle segment (250cc – 750cc), announced plans to further strengthen its presence in the Middle East and Africa region with the appointment of AW Rostamani Group as its official distribution partner for the UAE region

Located in Umm Suqeim St. Dubai, the newly inaugurated store will have iconic Royal Enfield motorcycles including the Super Meteor 650, Hunter 350, Scram 411, Classic, Meteor, Interceptor, Continental GT, and the Himalayan. The store will also have the complete range of Royal Enfield apparel and accessories. 

A dedicated service centre has also been set up for Royal Enfield customers in Al Quoz to ensure that customers receive seamless after-sales service experience. To cater to the evolving demands of the riding community in the region, the company plans to set up additional branches in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the coming months. 

With the newly formed alliance Royal Enfield will further widen its presence in the UAE, as the AW Rostamani Group today inaugurated its first Royal Enfield store at Umm Suqeim St. Dubai. 

Speaking about the partnership with AW Rostamani Group, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, CCO of Royal Enfield, said, “We have been focused on growing the middleweight motorcycle segment in the Middle Eastern markets for almost a decade now. In a bid to extend the Royal Enfield pure motorcycling experience to the riding community in UAE, we are excited about our strategic partnership with AW Rostamani who brings a wealth of experience and a strong presence in the market.”

“With this new alliance, customers in the UAE can look forward to easier access to our wide portfolio of exciting motorcycles. This collaboration represents a significant step in our growth strategy, and we are excited about the opportunities it will bring to our valued customers,” he added. 

Demand for Royal Enfield motorcycles across the UAE region continues to rise, as the brand establishes itself as a global leader in the midsize motorcycle sector (250cc-750cc). Exponential growth in Royal Enfield’s International markets has seen production increase to 832,179 motorcycles in FY 2023 and registered motorcycle sales were at 834,895 units (standalone), up by 38.4% from 602,268 (standalone) in FY 22. 

Michel Ayat, CEO of AW Rostamani, said: “We were pleased to forge a partnership with Royal Enfield, a venerable motorcycle manufacturer with an illustrious legacy. The demand for bikes in the UAE is on a steady rise, and we remain steadfast in our belief that this alliance profoundly caters to and elevates the aspirations of the burgeoning community of motorcycle enthusiasts nationwide.”

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Solar energy and climate change are killing future hydro plants in … – ZME Science

There are around 1.2 billion people in Africa, and most of them need more energy than they’re using now. The person in Africa uses four times less energy than the global average, but as African nations improve their standard of living, they are starting to use more and more electricity. Hopefully, the vast majority of that new energy will be renewable and clean — and indeed, that’s the plan for much of the African continent, with hydropower at the forefront.

But the plan is changing.

Hydroelectric dams, once considered to be a prime source of future African energy, may no longer be cost-effective.

The Aswan Dam in Egypt. CC BY 3.0.

At least on paper, the case for hydroelectric energy seems very strong in Africa. Abundant rainfall, massive rivers, and huge waterfalls — the geography of the continent seems to be excellently fit for hydropower. Many countries are already using this. Ghana’s Lake Volta (the largest artificial lake in the world), Ethiopia’s flagship Renaissance Dam, and the Aswan Dam (the largest embankment dam in the world) in Egypt are already huge, completed projects.

But Africa is only exploiting around 10% of its hydropower potential, and there are plans to build way more hydroelectric projects. Except those plans may not be all that wise.

According to a new modeling study, investing in more hydroelectric projects may not be the wisest approach for Africa.

Solar’s cheaper

The researchers looked at what would be the most cost-effective way for African countries to meet their rising energy demand by 2050. They looked at various sources of energy (hydropower, solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, coal, and others), comparing their cost. They also estimated the cost and benefits of every possible future hydropower in Africa.

The study’s complexity is unprecedented. They included everything from population growth to river flow and interplay between different plants. Ultimately, they found that in many cases, it’s better to simply not build the hydroelectric plants. In fact, 67% of possible future hydropower plants in Africa are probably not worth the investment.

For now, renewables still account for a very small percentage of Africa’s energy. But this stat could start to change soon.

“What is unique about our study is that we model every single hydropower plant in Africa individually — both existing ones and future candidates,” explains Dr. Angelo Carlino, lead author of the study. “This way, our model can pinpoint which plants could be a smart investment and which ones should probably not be built.”

The first reason is that renewable sources (especially solar, but also wind) are becoming cheaper. Simply put, hydropower will be unable to compete economically with other renewable sources of energy. Solar, in particular, is expected to become the cheapest form of energy for Africa.

But there’s another reason why hydropower may not be as cost-effective: climate change.

Climate and water

We’re already seeing the effects of climate change, but in the next couple of decades, these effects will almost certainly intensify. Drought is among the most prominent such effects — and drought is a game changer for hydropower. Drought makes river volume less reliable, and it also means you need to invest more into maintaining the plants.

This is another reason why solar power will emerge as the more attractive technology in the long term,” says Dr. Matthias Wildemeersch, a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and co-author of the study.

But this doesn’t mean it’s “game over” for hydropower in Africa. At least in the short and medium term, some hydroelectric plants could provide much-needed cheap power. They could also be used as a buffer in the transition to renewables — essentially serving as a cost-effective bridge to reliable wind and solar.

“Our model shows which specific hydropower plants would still be cost-effective in the short-term,” comments Professor Andrea Castelletti, professor in Natural Resources Management at Politecnico di Milano and senior author of the study. “Especially in the Congo, Niger, and Nile basins, there are certain projects that would be worth the effort, as long as they are well-planned and harmful environmental effects are kept to a minimum.”

However, the study forces African countries to rethink how they should use hydropower.

“The window for hydropower in Africa to be a feasible investment is very rapidly closing,” adds Professor Sebastian Sterl, professor in Energy Meteorology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium, and senior scientist at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The study suggests that beyond 2030, only a very limited number of hydropower plants would remain attractive investments across Africa. “Aside from cost-effectiveness, this is generally good news for the environment: it means that many rivers won’t have to be dammed and can keep their natural course,” concludes Sterl.

Solar will be king

In addition to showing the roadblocks for hydropower, the study highlights how dominant solar power is expected to become.

In the long term, solar power would emerge as the “king” of electricity markets world wide. Solar power is already the cheapest form of electricity globally, and there’s still plenty of room for improvement, particularly as renewable energy is scaled up.

“The benefit of rapid renewable deployment is greater energy security androcky independence, plus long-term energy price deflation because this is a manufactured technology — the more you install the cheaper it gets,” Kingsmill Bond, Senior Principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, told Euronews earlier this year.

Journal Reference: Angelo Carlino et al, Declining cost of renewables and climate change curb the need for African hydropower expansion, Science (2023). DOI: 10.1126/science.adf5848

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