Indian firm’s rugged electric Jeep Wrangler rival tops range of new SUV concepts.
Indian auto giant Mahindra has unwrapped the radical Thar.e concept as a vision of a rugged electric 4×4 that could go on sale by the end of the decade.
The Mumbai-based firm – one of India’s largest automotive companies – showed the Thar.e in Cape Town this week as part of a wide-reaching preview of its electric vehicle strategy.
The Thar.e concept imagines a spiritual successor to Mahindra’s big-selling Thar, an affordable, rugged SUV with a similar ethos and design to the Jeep Wrangler.
Conceived as an electric off-roader, it adopts a rugged, severe silhouette, sits high from the ground on Dakar-style suspension and rides on beefy all-terrain tyres. No doubt a production-specification evolution of this design would be more overtly road-focused.
The cabin, meanwhile, “blends minimalism with functionality, focusing on the essentials of off-road driving”, according to Mahindra. It has a pivoting central screen, an array of grab handles and a minimalist dashboard arrangement in a bid to cater to “urban and off-road adventures”.
Mahindra’s automotive boss, Veejay Nakra, called it “a testament to innovation and a pioneering design philosophy that is uniquely Mahindra and distinctively global”, hinting at the potential for a production version to be sold outside India.
The brand is currently preparing to launch its new ‘Born Electric’ SUV line-up. The Born Electric range comprises a trio of strikingly styled electric crossovers designed inth UK and based on a new architecture derived from the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform – the fruition of a new partnership.
The BE.05, BE.07 and BE.09 (numbered according to size) will be the first Mahindra cars to ride on this new platform, dubbed Inglo. Claimed to be one of the world’s lightest EV skateboards, it houses cell-to-pack batteries ranging in capacity from 60kWh to 80kWh and allows for charging at up to 175kW.
The first cars on Inglo will use batteries sourced from Chinese manufacturer BYD, with Volkswagen eventually supplying cells to Mahindra. Volkswagen will supply EV motors for all the Born Electric cars (including any production-spec Thar.e), which will come with either a 207kW rear-driven powertrain or with a secondary 78kW unit on the front axle for all-wheel drive.
The first of these new electric cars will be the BE.05, launching in October 2025, followed by the BE.07 in April the following year. Launch dates for the BE.09 and Thar.e were not given.