Inadequate charging infrastructure has been a major barrier to electric vehicle adoption, so Maruti Suzuki is opting for hybrid cars until the infrastructure improves.

Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car manufacturer, is working on hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) that can be charged on the go and are not reliant on roadside infrastructure for power.

The Delhi-based company, which has lagged behind competitors such as Tata Motors, Mahindra, and Hyundai in adopting EVs, is collaborating with another Japanese heavyweight, Toyota, on HEVs.

“There is a joint testing program of some electric vehicles; these prototypes will be tested next month along with Toyota,” said Rahul Bharti, Executive Director, Corporate Planning and Government Affairs, Maruti Suzuki. We intend to gather more consumer feedback on usage patterns, among other things. You’ll need self-charging machines until India’s charging infrastructure improves, so we’ll be using hybrid electric vehicles in the meantime.”

An internal combustion engine (ICE) provides energy to the batteries in self-charging cars, in addition to wheel rotation, which is a secondary power source. Because the car is powered by batteries, it gets better mileage than an ICE car.

“For the next 10-15 years, it’s a strong technology with a lot of merits, it can scale up without relying on external charging infrastructure, and it offers a good reduction in emissions,” Bharti added.

Suzuki introduced the Swace in Europe in 2020, a hybrid electric vehicle developed in collaboration with Toyota and based on the Toyota Corolla estate. The self-charging Swace achieves a mileage of 27 km per litre thanks to a 3.6 kW battery and a 1.8-litre petrol engine.

Carmakers claim that India’s EV charging infrastructure is underdeveloped, causing them to take their time transitioning to EV mobility. Companies like Volkswagen, Renault, Nissan, Honda, and Kia, along with Maruti Suzuki, have no immediate plans to enter the electric vehicle market, owing to high acquisition costs and a lack of adequate charging infrastructure.

In late 2018, Maruti Suzuki began testing 50 modified battery-powered Wagon R cars across the country. Maruti also announced that its first fully electric vehicle would be commercially available in India in 2020.

Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), the parent company of popular cars like the Baleno and Swift, which have nearly 50% market share in India’s passenger vehicle segment, is relying on parent Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) for EV solutions.

Pricing

SMC head office reports indicate that Maruti Suzuki will enter FY25 in the pure space for the EV and that his first car will be under the Rs 10 lakh price. Maruti Suzuki has yet to reveal its electric vehicle plans.

There are currently no electric cars available for less than Rs 10 lakh. Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) had planned to launch the eKUV100, which was supposed to be India’s cheapest electric car, but due to a shift in product strategy and a shortage of semiconductors, the launch has been postponed significantly.

The Tata Nexon is India’s best-selling electric car, with a market share of 70% and a wait time of 14-16 weeks. The Nexon electric car costs Rs 14 lakh (excluding State subsidies).