Japanese auto majors Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation on Friday concluded the memorandum of association for making electric vehicles for the domestic market by 2020 and developing the requisite technologies associated with it. This will significantly boost the prospects of Maruti Suzuki — the Indian subsidiary of Suzuki Motor. In February this year, Toyota and Suzuki had signed an agreement to consider the prospect of working together on developing electric vehicle technology. “Suzuki is to produce EVs for the Indian market and will supply some to Toyota, while Toyota is to provide technical support. Additionally, Toyota and Suzuki intend to conduct a comprehensive study of activities for the widespread acceptance and popular use of EVs in India,” said a spokesperson of Suzuki Motor Corporation in a statement. Though Maruti Suzuki is the biggest carmaker in the country by some distance, its parent company Suzuki Motor Corp lacks the requisite technology to make electric cars. Some of the other competitors such as Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors have already started to manufacture electric vehicles for the domestic market. Recently, Maruti could not even participate in the bid for supplying electric vehicles to the Union government. The bid was eventually won by M&M and Tata Motors. After all, the government wants only electric vehicles to ply on Indian roads by 2030 as part of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on an already bloated oil import bill. Earlier this month, Toshihiro Suzuki, chief executive officer of Suzuki Motor Corporation and a director on the board of Maruti Suzuki, in Japan voiced his apprehension regarding the adverse impact the introduction of electric vehicles and lack of technological knowhow will have on the fortune of the Indian subsidiary.
“As envisioned by the agreement, in addition to lithium-ion batteries, electric motors and other major components would be locally procured for the production of EVs in India, helping the Indian government fulfill its “Make in India” initiative, even in the field of EVs,” noted the spokesperson of Suzuki Motor Corporation in a statement. Both Toyota and Suzuki will work towards establishment of charging stations, human resources development that includes training for after-service technicians employed throughout sales networks and systems for the appropriate treatment of end-of-life batteries. Also, in an attempt to take its first step towards manufacturing electric vehicles in India, Suzuki Motor Corp in a joint venture with Toshiba Corporation and Denso announced its plans to set up a plant in Gujarat to make lithuim-ion battery – the most important and expensive part of an electric vehicle.
As per reports from Japanese news agency Nikkei, Suzuki may collaborate with Toyota Motor and Mazda Technologies for the electric vehicle technology. Earlier in the month, Toyota Motor, Mazda and Denso made the announcement of a venture to develop key technology designs for batteries and motors of different type of vehicles. Toyota will own a 90% stake while Denso and Mazda will own 5% each in the venture. Suzuki may also pick up Toyota’s 5% stake in the venture to fast-track its electric vehicle project.