Maruti To Focus On Strong Hybrid Tech; Midsize SUV To Get It First?

Suzuki A-cross Plug in hybrid-4
Suzuki A-Cross

Maruti Suzuki will bring in E20 compliant cars before April 2023 while the primary focus has been put on strong hybrid powertrains and flex-fuel tech

In a bid to reduce pollution levels and to cater to the needs of the customers in the ever-changing domestic market, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) appears to be focussing on a wide range of powertrain options for its future products. The largest carmaker in the country will bring in E20 compliant cars as early as next year.

E20 refers to the mixture of petrol and ethanol as 20 denotes the percentage of Ethanol mixed with gasoline. In recent years, MSIL has expanded the reach of the 1.5-litre K15B mild-hybrid petrol engine across its lineup and now the 1.5-litre K15C DualJet engine with progressive mild-hybrid tech has debuted in the facelifted Ertiga and the XL6.

While the Indo-Japanese manufacturer refrains from diesel powertrains, it has shown increased interest in CNG technology as the S-CNG lineup has been expanded thick and fast. The results are evident in the sales charts as MSIL sold more than 2.3 lakh CNG cars last fiscal. The heavily updated Brezza, launching in mid-2022, will likely become the first compact SUV to boast CNG tech.

Maruti Suzuki Futuro-e Concept 5

In addition, CNG technology will be employed in Nexa cars as well. Along with CNG, MSIL is also looking to bring in flex-fuel engines and strong hybrids with the capability of running on electric power alone as it uses larger battery pack and electric motor. The upcoming midsize SUV developed in collaboration with Toyota will arrive later this CY.

It is expected to be the first model to carry a strong hybrid powertrain, likely benefiting from higher mileage in the midsize five-seater SUV space. Codenamed Maruti Suzuki YFG, it is based on the DNGA platform, a derivative of Toyota’s TNGA, and its trial production is said to have commenced at TKM’s Karnataka plant before making its global debut around June or July 2022.

Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director- Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki, noted in a recent interview that hybrid technology can help in the localisation of electric vehicles in India. He said, “Since several components of strong hybrids and EVs are common, so if you have larger volumes you can localize.”