Yes! You heard it right. The most popular household brand, the Maruti Suzuki is all set to roll out its first electric vehicle by 2020.
The Chairman and Chief Executive of Maruti Suzuki India, R C Bhargava confirmed yesterday, the 21st December 2017 that Maruti Suzuki has plans to roll out first electric vehicles (EVs) by 2020 for its buyers. Maruti Suzuki would be manufacturing and selling the electric cars in India. This roll out would be the outcome of Suzuki-Toyota partnership. Bhargava added, “We as Maruti Suzuki don’t have the tech for e-vehicles. It’s a fact.” It may be recalled that Toyota and Suzuki have signed a MoU earlier in last February to share R&D and technology which includes the EVs and hybrids.
This announcement by Maruti Suzuki, the largest car maker in India will be loved by the environmentalists and general public. The Indian metros and particularly the north India is battling with severe levels of hazardous emission which is compelling government to put greater thrust on cleaner automotive technologies. The announcement by Bhargava also echoes with the Indian government’s target to go fully electrical by the year 2030. Few days back, the Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari has gone ahead saying that the government would not hesitate to “bulldoze” the auto industries if the carmakers do not shift the gears towards electric vehicles. Maruti Suzuki’s roll out of electric vehicle by 2020 is expected to help people to opt for electrical mobility at affordable cost.
Maruti Suzuki has commissioned a survey to study the potential of EV market which will commence in two-three weeks and would be completed by February next year. The survey will help the company to realize the ground realities like consumers’ preference, infrastructural facilities needed to support EVs and lots of associated issues. Maruti Suzuki itself would be setting some charging stations to facilitate people to switch over to EVs. Some of the central sector power companies like NTPC Ltd. and Power Grid Corporation Ltd. (PGCIL) have already indicated their plans to come forward to create required network of charging station to meet the government’s ambitious plan for switch over to electrical vehicle. However, such pan-India charging facilities are unlikely to be available by 2020.
Maruti Suzuki is yet to decide about the type of EVs, i.e. whether the roll out would be a hatchback or a sedan. This decision is also expected to be firmed up after the conclusion of the survey commissioned by Maruti Suzuki.
As per Bhragava, the perception being circulated worldwide that the electrical vehicles would be cheaper as compared to the conventional petrol and diesel vehicles seems to be flawed as it seems unrealistic for a long time to come. The cost of the electrical vehicles would be higher due to the fact that the lithium-ion batteries are costly and are to be imported. It may be noted that the Mahindra’s electric car e20 comes at a price of Rs. 7.46 (ex-showroom) which is at premium as compared to the regular hatchback.
With greater focus on the environment protection worldwide, it seems imperative for every nation to switch over to cleaner and greener mode of transport sooner than later. Indian carmakers are rightly moving ahead with the trend and the entry of the best seller, Maruti Suzuki in the race is a welcome step.