Technology from Suzuki to drive Maruti's first electric car in India


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  Maruti Suzuki may launch its first electric car in India using technology from Suzuki, in spite of its parent's tie-up with Toyota for the launch of electric vehicles (EVs) in India.  


According to an Economic Times report, Maruti Suzuki's first electric car will be based on technology from parent Suzuki Motor. Maruti Suzuki Managing Director Kenichi Ayukawa said that the Japanese carmaker would not rely solely on its partner Toyota to build EVs.  

"There is an MoU (memorandum of understanding) for technical support from Toyota to Suzuki Motor on EVs," Ayukawa said, adding, "In addition, Suzuki is also working on its own EV technology development. From these combined efforts, we will see EVs getting launched in India in 2020 and beyond." 

Last week, Maruti Suzuki said it will showcase its electric and hybrid technology at the upcoming Auto Expo 2018, scheduled for next month, where more than two dozen EVs from various manufacturers may be showcased.  

This comes in the backdrop of the Indian government's 2030 target of moving completely to electric vehicles. 

Suzuki already sells two hybrid vehicles in Japan – the Swift Hybrid and the Solio Hybrid. Since these are strong hybrids, they're capable of covering short distances using a motor-battery setup like conventional electric vehicles.

Maruti Suzuki will showcase its e-Survivor, an electric SUV concept, at next week's expo. 

Electric powertrains are the direction in which Maruti Suzuki will progress and the e-Survivor concept is a preview of things to expect from the automobile manufacturer. Suzuki has also recently begun work on setting up a battery plant for EVs in Gujarat and tied up with Toyota to form an electric vehicle plan for India by 2020.  

In September last year, Suzuki announced that its lithium-ion battery manufacturing JV with Toshiba and Denso will invest Rs 11.51 billion (1,151 crore) to set up its production facilities. The batteries developed from this JV will be used in the Maruti Suzuki models.

In an earlier interview, Maruti Suzuki Chairman R C Bhargava said the company intend to be a leader in the electric segment as well.

In India, 75 per cent of vehicles sold are small cars. Ensuring affordability for these small cars while making a shift to electric technology is a challenge for manufacturers. 

"I don't think anybody knows today what kind of infrastructure will come up to support EVs. When we start selling EVs in 2020, we will certainly set up some charging stations," Bhargava said last month. 

Further, Bhargava said that about 40 per cent of new personal vehicles sold locally could be pure electric by 2030. Assuming a growth rate of eight per cent in the passenger vehicle segment every year, around 71 million new vehicles could be added between now and 2030. Of this, 14.4 million vehicles may be pure electric and the remaining 56.6 million will have conventional engines.