Maruti’s Ayukawa bats for hybrid vehicles

Before and after: Maruti saw sales of S-Cross rise 30-40% after it introduced the Smart Hybrid Vehicle System.

Before and after: Maruti saw sales of S-Cross rise 30-40% after it introduced the Smart Hybrid Vehicle System.  

Car market leader Maruti Suzuki is rooting for hybrid vehicles as a better solution to address country’s environmental concerns amid India’s plans to move to an all-electric vehicle fleet.

“We are using mainly diesel and petrol vehicles at present,” Kenichi Ayukawa, MD and CEO of Maruti Suzuki India said. “The number of electric vehicles [EVs] is very limited. To shift to EVs, we have to do a lot of things such as component localising and building charging infrastructure.”

He added, “Hence, we propose the hybrid system — mild, strong etc, because even though EVs will increase, we will still have majority of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. To address environment concerns, we have to improve fuel efficiency for the large part of the automobile market not addressed by EVs.”

With hybrids, increase in fuel efficiency can range from 5% to 30%. Asked if, for India, hybrid vehicles were a better solution than EVs, Mr. Ayukawa said, “I believe so.”

Currently, Maruti Suzuki sells only mild hybrids in the Indian market. Three of its vehicles — the S-Cross, Ertiga and Ciaz come with its Smart Hybrid Vehicle System. Mr. Ayukawa said the company had seen an increase of about 30-40% in sales of S-Cross after the introduction of the System.

Sector seeks 2047 target

The government has proposed moving to 100% electric vehicles by 2030, though the auto industry had recommended that the country should target 40% of personal vehicles and 100% of public transport vehicles to be electric by then. It has suggested 2047 as the target for all-electric passenger vehicles.

“EV is a totally different ecosystem. It does not use the engine; there is a battery and a motor. We have to develop those kinds of manufacturing capabilities here. That is very important,” he said, adding that there also needs to be a plan to absorb people currently employed in the auto component industry. Maruti Suzuki will showcase its concept electric vehicle, e-Survivor, at the upcoming Auto Expo, as well as a working model of the next generation hybrid technology.

The company is planning to bring an EV into the country by 2020, while its rival Hyundai has announced that it would roll out its EV in India in 2019.

Asked about the growth of the company in the next fiscal, for which it has planned a capital expenditure of ₹4,000, Mr. Ayukawa said, “Gradually, the market is becoming better…Total industry may grow near 8-10% next year. We would like to catch up with that growth, if possible, a little bit over that,’” he added.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:18:01 AM |

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