Suzuki Motorcycle India will be joining the ranks with its four-wheeled siblings in an electric avatar with the launch of an electric two-wheeler in India by 2020. The time-frame as per recent announcement will see them launching their electric motorcycle to coincide with the launch of Maruti Suzuki’s first electric car. The root cause of this announcement can be traced back to the meeting between Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017, after which they announced plans for Suzuki to invest Rs 1,700 Crore in India along with Denso and Toshiba to manufacture Lithium-ion batteries in India. Up until now, the Lithium-ion batteries remain the most expensive part of an electric vehicle, and still require to be imported, leading to high price tags.
As per reports, Suzuki India has requested a module for an electric motorcycle as well as an electric scooter for the Indian market. Meanwhile, the company has set up a research team in India with the help of KPMG, to understand the metrics, cost and feasibility of electric scooters and motorcycles in India. The research team will primarily focus on the manufacture of electric scooters, but will also look at the manufacture of electric bikes in India. Suzuki Motorcycle’s Managing Director Satoshi Uchida said he was keen on supporting the government's vision of adding electric vehicles to the Indian market, especially considering that their parent company is already in the process of setting up their lithium battery plant in Gujarat. This will allow costs to be relatively controlled, allowing the upcoming electric two-wheelers to be positioned as a mass-market product rather than a niche up-market product like the rest of the electric two-wheelers on sale in India presently. Uchida, however, confirmed that they would have their electric two-wheeler ready for India by 2020.
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Suzuki initially launched its first electric two wheeler in the form of an electric scooter far back in 2011, with a small 100-Volt battery that allowed for a moderate range of 30 kms. The E-Lets with its limited range was met with very little interest and sales and was retired as a failed experiment. However, since then the technology has evolved several folds with costs going down, with the drop in prices expected to continue over the next few years. However, Suzuki is yet to announce what vehicles will come to India and be considering they don’t have an electric motorcycle in their global portfolio either. That said, we expect the first electric scooter to be based on an electrified platform of an existing scooter in the Indian market. Hence, we expect the scooter to have a range of around 100 km with an option of fast-charging. Also, unlike present electric scooters, this scooter could have a top speed close to 70 km/h, bringing it at par with petrol scooters in terms of practicality.