Maruti Suzuki has been in the news for some time now, after their parent company Suzuki announced a tie-up with Toyota to manufacture EVs. Up until now the path forward was not entirely clear. And how exactly this tie up between Toyota and Suzuki will benefit Maruti Suzuki in India. Now however new information coming out of Maruti Suzuki’s year end meeting has cleared Maruti’ path moving towards the 2030 electrification goal.
Speaking at the Year-end meeting RC Bhargava chairman at Maruti Suzuki shed some light on the exact scope of the tie-up between Toyota and Suzuki in Japan. The joint venture between the companies boils down to an R&D exercise that will build on both companies building on their own existing electric and hybrid technologies. The main scope of the partnership will focus on three things:
1) Electric Vehicle
2) Hybrid technologies
3) Fuel Cell technology
Although Fuel Cells are being considered as a possible future technology. The main reach of this project will focus on the first two.
However, in this right, Maruti has also said that neither of the Japanese companies will ultimately be involved in the actual manufacturing process in India. Their primary focus as of right now will be as an outsourced R&D supplier. Which means while Maruti might import the design framework most of the manufacturing process will be restricted to the Indian subcontinent. This will include batteries which will be produced out of Maruti Suzuki’s plant in Gujarat.
Also included on Suzuki-Toyotas agenda will be engineering an ecosystem in which EVs can survive. Something that Maruti intends to then replicate on Indian soil.
Speaking on the product horizon of the first Maruti EV Mr Bhargava assured that by 2020 India would have its first Maruti electric vehicle. However, he declined to mention as to which market segment the EV will be focusing on. Stating that it will be hard to realistically expect a mass-market EV in the recent future. Indicating that the first EV from Maruti might actually be on one of the more expensive products from their existing portfolio. Stressing on the fact that more mass-market vehicles will soon be available once a sustainable ecosystem exists.
Speaking on the introduction of EVs Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava said "Maruti Suzuki's Electric Vehicle project will on be a success if the consumer is kept in focus. Maruti will be conducting a survey starting in January that will continue for 6 weeks before taking any product related steps "