Mahindra Group thinks ‘Design’ at M101 Conference in Italy

A beautiful and impactful design can add immense business value over time. With this thought in mind, the Mahindra Group’s annual M101 conference of its top 101 global managers focussed on the theme of ‘Business by Design’. The conference was held in Milan, Italy, widely acknowledged as the design capital of the world, from December 5-7, 2018.

Day one was all about giving participants an immersive design experience with visits to the world famous Duomo di Milano or Milan Cathedral; as well as La Triennale di Milano, the design and art museum in the Parco Sempione, and lunch in a medieval castle. This was followed by a visit to the iconic design house, Pininfarina,which is part of the Mahindra Group.

Taking good design to the heart of the entire group’s processes and products, Mahindra Group also announced the launch of Academia Pininfarina, to enable professionals from all sectors of the group, develop their design expertise. The academia will initially train M&M managers and will then reach out to the other departments of the Group.

Anand Mahindra, Chairman, M&M, said, “Design offers competitive advantage and the soundest companies will adopt design as a driver to shape all innovation. To be

successful and resist against crises, you will essentially need two things − meaning and beauty delivered by design.”

On the second day, The HR and Finance departments made presentations that reflected this design theme when they spoke about Employee Engagement and Designing Your Destiny, respectively. Top global minds on design including Harry West and Tim Parsey also spoke at the conference. A group wide design contest saw Mahindra Holidays with its ‘Living Earth’ portable tent concept emerge as the winner, while Tech Mahindra’s google for the blind-‘sZensEYE’ won the ‘People’s Choice’ award at the conference.

Mahindra Racing’s new M5Electro race car makes India debut

Mahindra Racing showcased its futuristic new M5Electro race car in full race livery at a high-profile event in Mumbai on December 10. This comes days ahead of the first race of Season 5 of the Formula E championship in Saudi Arabia on December 15 with a total of 13 races across various cities in the world. The first race will be broadcast live on Sony ESPN SD/HD– qualifying at 1:00pm and race at 5:00pm IST. Mahindra Racing also introduced its new driver line-up of Jerome D’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein, and signed up global energy company Shell as the newest sponsor of the race team.

The M5Electro is based on generation two of the Formula E race car, featuring cutting edge EV powertrain technology that has been aggressively developed through the rigour of four seasons of top level Formula E racing. It will be able to touch 100km/h in just 2.8 seconds and go on to a top speed of 280km/h. The design sees an evolution of the team’s iconic and unique red, white and blue colour scheme, updated and created to reflect the exhilarating new design of the Gen2 car. The new team kit draws inspiration from iconic Indian symbols, the Bengal tiger and the Lotus flower.

Dilbagh Gill, CEO and Team Principal, Mahindra Racing, said, “We have set a razor-sharp focus to build on our base from the last few seasons and continue to be one of the top teams in season 5 of Formula E. The ultimate objective, is to claim the championship title. Our team coupled with our strong pool of partners, will enable us to achieve this aspiration. We are thrilled to have Shell onboard as it will help us explore powerful opportunities in the area of lubricant technology and engineering, the results of which will be visible on and off the race track."


Echo spoke to Jerome D’Ambrosio who will be piloting the all-new Gen2 M5Electro. The racer shared his expectations and excitement. Excerpts…

How does it feel to be a part of the Mahindra Racing family?

I think it is a big family. Obviously, it is a racing team, but behind the race team, it’s a huge group, a huge company. It is not just about the race team, it is a part of something much bigger. The team is working really well professionally in terms of engineering with dedicated, hardworking, clever people, but at the same time, it is like a very welcoming family. I could see it from the outside and definitely, I was not wrong, as it is the same from the inside as well.

How is Formula E different from Formula One?

It’s another beast, it’s completely different. The biggest difference in terms of driving is the noise, the sound. It is not that you do not hear sounds in Formula E but you actually feel more connected to the car, because you hear the wind, the tire, you hear the car touching the ground the gearbox and you hear the electric motor. We are much closer to the fans in Formula E. It is an inclusive sport rather than being exclusive and that is one of the main difference. Coming to the format of the race, there will be 45 minutes plus 1 lap rather than the lap count. This is really, what will make the biggest difference.

How will you compare Gen1 cars with the new Gen2 M5Electro?

In terms of pure grip, the tires are different. In terms of performance of electric motor and battery, it has 25% more power than last year and another extra 40% power on recovery which makes it faster.

What are your expectations from Season 5?

You cannot go for anything less than trying to win the championship. It will be difficult but this is what I will go for. You cannot control the results but you can control the effort and energy you put in. The journey is what leads to the result and I will give everything I can to get the best out of it.

Formula E, Automobili Pininfarina and Everything in Between

Mahindra’s sustainable mobility solutions are technologically advanced and aim to constantly address the evolving needs and preferences of the consumers. From a wide range of electric passenger vehicles, Formula E racing cars to Automibili Pininfarina’s zero-emission hypercar, Mahindra has been pushing the boundaries of electric mobility.

Dr Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and Chairman, Mahindra Racing, said, “Formula E represents the cutting edge of EV technology and plays a strategic role in realizing Mahindra’s vision of the Future of Mobility through our ‘Race to Road strategy. Racing is at the pinnacle of global EV motorsport, and it puts Mahindra on the fast track toward the development of an entirely new generation of EVs that offer clean, exciting yet affordable mobility to our customers.”

In conversation
As the Mahindra Racing team gears up for this weekend’s Saudi Arabia ePrix on Dec 15, Nick Heidfeld, Special Advisor to Mahindra Racing and the development driver for Automobili Pininfarina, speaks to Echo about the future of mobility, and how it is headed from ‘Race to Road’.

Tell us about the new role you have taken on in

Mahindra Racing.
From being a driver for Mahindra Racing in past seasons, my new role is more about being an advisor to Mahindra Racing. I am attached to the team, more than any other racing team that I have ever worked with before. In addition to this, I saw the team getting very good people on board, and this makes it very special for me.

Tell us about your new role with Automobili Pininfarina, and how it makes a powerful combination with the Mahindra Group.
This is a completely new role, but then again I think it suits me perfectly. I was lucky enough in my life and career as I could always do things I felt passionately about, and I have the same feeling with Automobili Pininfarina.
It combines driving, racing, fast cars, and technology; actually, there are the same cells in the Automobili Pininfarina hypercar, just named as Battista, as we have in our M5Electro Formula E car.

How do you see the transfer happening from racing technology to road technology?
I always speak to people and see how much they think is transferable, and I understand that it is a lot more valuable and realistic now. Any development we see in Formula E is very likely to be seen on road cars too.

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