The new hybrid powertrain from Maruti Suzuki is also expected to feature in the upcoming Swift facelift which not only improves fuel efficiency but also its performance
In the age of stricter emission curbs, manufacturers have been seeking out new methods to reduce vehicular emissions. The best way to achieve this is by electrification of powertrains. Whereas to attain zero emissions, manufacturers have started developing fully electric vehicles that run on a power source provided by a battery pack.
However, in a country like India which is extremely budget centric and has a very limited charging infrastructure as of now, there is very little scope for adopting full-fledged electric vehicles as our primary source of mobility. Hence, hybrid powertrains form the best solution for the Indian automotive market.
The country’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki showcased a plethora of its cars run on hybrid powertrain along with CNG models at this year’s AutoExpo in February. Almost a couple of months back, the company had teased an upcoming variant of its premium hatchback offering Baleno which said, “A big surprise is coming soon!”. At that time many people believed that Baleno might return with a turbocharged engine.
However, it seems that Maruti is planning to introduce its mild-hybrid powertrain on Baleno soon to further strengthen its low-emission eco-friendly objective in India. Images of a test mule of Baleno spotted testing with a Strain Gauge apparatus attached to all four wheels have surfaced online. These images have been clicked at the ghats of Lonavala in Maharashtra.
In addition to making it environment friendly, the Indo-Japanese manufacturer has found a way to make this pocket friendly as well by equipping this upcoming variant of Baleno with two electric motors. These two electric motors could be installed onto the rear wheel hubs of the Baleno. The regular Baleno is a front-wheel driven car and this new hybrid variant is expected to carry forward the same internal combustion engine.
How does a hybrid powertrain work?
In cases where strong hybrid is there, one set of wheels (front or rear) are powered by the combustion engine, while the other set of wheels are powered by electric motor which is connected to a battery. The petrol power plant can recharge the battery while on move and at a time of idle and in turn, the car’s initial torque will be provided by the two electric motors mounted on wheels thus increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emission of harmful gases considerably.
The car could be driven in a full electric mode as well and depending on the capacity of the battery pack it could provide an electric-only range of around 25-35 km. This would allow an owner to switch to complete emission-free mode within city limits thereby reducing air and noise pollution which will be very beneficial especially for metropolitan cities.
But in the case of mild hybrid, which is what is expected on the upcoming 2021 Maruti Baleno Hybrid, there will not be any electric motors. Instead there will be ISG or integrated starter generator that is charged using a 48v batter, which is charged by the car’s braking energy. The ISG helps the car’s combustion engine momentarily, thereby helping in delivering a smoother drive with more fuel efficiency.
Swift Strong Hybrid
As of now, these are mere speculations as there is no confirmation regarding this from Maruti Suzuki. A similar setup was also presented at the last AutoExpo when the company showcased Swift strong hybrid with its 1.2-litre four-cylinder Dualjet engine integrated with a 10kW (13.4 HP / 30 Nm) electric motor. This hybrid powertrain claims to return an average fuel economy of 32 kmpl.