Rajshekar Dass’s Maruti 800 electric concept packs advanced connectivity options and a small powertrain offering a range of 130km
For the BS6 era, Maruti Suzuki has taken a petrol-only product strategy. The Indian manufacturer claims to be committed to providing cleaner modes of transport in the years to come. As a first, Maruti Suzuki plans to launch the WagonR Electric sometime in 2021. Over the months, the EV was spotted on multiple occasions in both camouflaged prototype and undisguised Japanese formats.
Presently, India has three good choices in the electric PV segment: Tata Nexon EV, MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona. Meanwhile, Mahindra is almost ready with the eXUV300. Compared to their ICE alternatives, prices are considerably higher. However, with efficient advancement of EV powertrains and battery technology, these figures would fall in the years to come.
What the Indian market requires at the moment is an ideal entry-point to EVs; preferably a platform familiar to the average Indian buyer. We have already shared such an interesting EV concept based on the Tata Nano and now, automotive engineer and designer Rajshekhar Dass (Instagram @rajshekhar.thedesigner) has created an electric version of the much-loved Maruti 800.
In the good old days of Maruti Udyog (evident from its ‘M’ logo), the 800 was a runaway success as it proved that four-wheeler ownership was not limited to the wealthy. Like the Ford Model T or Volkswagen Beetle in foreign markets, the Maruti 800 (especially second-gen SB308 model) was a car for the common Indian. Rajshekhar believes that India’s EV revolution needs a hero and the Maruti 800 would be the perfect inspiration to make the shift to emission-free commute.
His design is by far one of the best visualisations of the iconic hatchback. With simple and minimal lines over a modern environment, the concept is an honest tribute to yesterday’s Indian motoring while setting a direction for the future. Alongside its ideation, Rajshekhar has shared a set of renders showcasing the car in different specifications.
Inside, passengers would feel like they are “surrounded by technology” that is less intimidating thanks to design simplicity. To stand apart in the trend of large touchscreens, Rajshekhar conceptualised a continuous digital panel (with haptic feedback) floating around the cabin. In key locations, functions such as window open/close, door lock/unlock and even window-tint adjustment would be added — if the industry is ready to bring all this at an accessible price point. Rajshekhar believes that the future of automotive interiors would be more about user experience.
In the designer’s perspective, the Maruti 800 EV packs a cost-efficient powertrain promising a real-world range of about 130km. If the time is right, it could pack features such as fingerprint scanner, facial recognition and various IoT (Internet of Things) systems.