In the recently concluded MOVE Global Mobility Summit, Osamu Suzuki, Chairman, Suzuki Motor Corporation did surprise everyone by announcing that Maruti Suzuki will begin testing of its Wagon R look alike electric car as early as next month and the company for the first time ever did showcase its first-ever prototype electric car at the summit which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. Maruti Suzuki is India’s largest carmaker and has a market share of over 50% in India but as India heads to electric vehicles for a sustainable future, the race is likely to reset on many fronts.
Electric Maruti Suzuki Wagon R look alike EV that was showcased is based on Suzuki’s global platform but is being developed by the company at its Gurgaon facility. The EV displayed at the MOVE Sumit was a prototype that will be used by the company to gain customer inputs and technical expertise. Electric cars in India is yet to flourish in a big way and one from Maruti Suzuki’s stable will certainly help the company to boost the EV penetration in India. Globally, Suzuki and Toyota have agreed to jointly collaborate in emerging countries like India and the EV will be a result of this joint partnership between the two companies.
Suzuki Motor Corporation has also invested Rs 1,137 crore on a lithium-ion battery plant that is likely to commence production in 2020. Maruti Suzuki Wagon R electric will also make its India launch in 2020. Osamu Suzuki, Chairman, Suzuki Motor Corporation also said that “in order to increase the penetration of EV vehicles India, it is obvious that it will be possible /practical only when sufficient charging infrastructure is developed.”
Electric Maruti Suzuki car that was showcased also hinted a few design cues of the all-new Maruti Suzuki Wagon R that is scheduled for Indian launch in February 2019. It also takes its inspiration from the Suzuki Solio and in its current prototype is longer and wider than the current generation Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. It is said to have an electric range of 200-220 kms per charge. Other technical details of the vehicles were not revealed by the company. Inside, the electric Maruti Suzuki Wagon R did feature an infotainment system and the dashboard looked a lot like Maruti Suzuki Ignis.
As India takes a leap of faith in EV, the entire auto-industry has shouted out its support for EVs. Hyundai Kona electric SUV will also be launched in India in the next 18-20 months and likes of Nissan, MG Motor and many others will launch electric cars in India. Mahindra and Tata Motors already make and supply electric cars to the Indian government as a part of EESL tender.
For Maruti Suzuki it looks like the electric Wagon R will be the flag bearer for its
upcoming electric cars and SUVs and once the mass production of battery technology and electric powertrain begins to expect the costs of electric cars to become more affordable. Expect the EV to be priced at around Rs 10 lakh mark and eventually the cost going down with an increase in demand.
Indian Government aims to have 15% of total new vehicles sales to come from electric and other vehicles running on alternative fuels. This will help in the massive reduction in emissions and also bringing down the oil import costs.