Maruti Suzuki and its strategic partner Toyota have jointly begun the development of self-charging hybrid vehicles for the Indian market
As per a recent report, Maruti Suzuki has started the development of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) for India. The Indo-Japanese carmaker is working together with Toyota on these new models, and prototypes are scheduled to enter the testing phase as early as next month. These hybrid vehicles will be self-charged models that won’t be dependent on an EV charging network.
Hybrid EVs, unlike battery-powered EVs, are powered by an internal combustion engine that works alongside an electric motor. The battery is charged via the engine, and not by an external power source. The electric motor helps improve the fuel economy of the vehicle while reducing tailpipe emissions, and it can act as a power booster as well.
The EV charging infrastructure in India is rather limited at the moment, which makes buying an electric car a little impractical. Other than that, EVs are also significantly more expensive than equivalent petrol- or diesel-powered cars, which isn’t good for the mass market. Maruti Suzuki has been vocal about the problems surrounding EV adoption in India and is sceptical about launching one anytime soon, at least in the passenger car market.
However, a hybrid vehicle doesn’t rely on the EV charging infrastructure; it can be run just like a regular IC-powered car. Rahul Bharti, Executive Director, Corporate Planning and Government Affairs, Maruti Suzuki, was quoted saying, “There is a joint testing program of some electric vehicles; these prototypes will be tested starting next month along with Toyota.”
“We are planning to get more consumer feedback on usage patterns, etc. Till the time charging infrastructure grows in India you will need self-charging machines, so towards that, we will be using hybrid electric vehicles,” he continued. He also stated that hybrid technology would be great for the next 10 to 15 years, making this a smart move.
As per previous reports, Maruti Suzuki’s first fully electric car is scheduled to debut in 2025. Parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation will later introduce this low-cost EV to other markets as well. Interestingly, a few other Indian carmakers have way more aggressive EV plans – Tata Motors is planning to launch ten new EVs by 2025, while six will arrive from Mahindra & Mahindra’s stable.
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