India’s Mahindra Group is best known globally for its tractors, but the company has set up shop in Ann Arbor to build an entirely new American product. From a manufacturing and engineering facility on Ellsworth Rd. (once the JAC Products auto parts plant) Mahindra will produce the “GenZe”–a two-wheeled electric scooter. GenZe CEO Vish Palekar explains that Mahindra chose the product for its American debut because “we saw a lot of people moving towards urban centers, a lot of college students having challenges with car parking and not wanting to own a car.”
Palekar says Mahindra located in Michigan for its “outstanding” supplier base and local expertise. “When we said, ‘where do we find great engineering talent and also a great place to live?’ that’s what led us to Ann Arbor,” he adds. GenZe employs thirty-two here and plans to expand to fifty when production begins in February.
At an introductory price of $2,999, the GenZe will first be sold in California and Portland, Oregon. The Michigan rollout will have to wait for spring. “There was no point in launching this in the middle of winter,” Palekar says.