Maruti Suzuki will concentrate on vehicles running on alternative fuels such as CNG and ethanol rather than pure EVs
India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, is not ready to dive into the electric mobility space yet. This was confirmed by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL) Chairman, RC Bhargava while addressing a virtual conference on the company’s second-quarter earnings.
Bhargava revealed that an exact timeline for launch of the carmaker’s first electric car will be decided by parent company Suzuki Motor in Japan. It was further notified that this will happen only after 2025 as demand for such vehicles is less at the moment. The company intends to sell at least 10,000 units of electric vehicles (EVs) a month whenever it enters the electric mobility space.
It was also revealed that under the current circumstances a lot of things in the EV ecosystem such as batteries, charging infrastructure and electric supply are done by other parties and therefore the costing is not in the hands of the manufacturer. As of now, Tata Motors is the leading OEM of EVs in the passenger vehicle segment which sold over 2,000 units in the second quarter of FY2022.
Maruti Electric Car Launch 2025
For Maruti to venture into the EV space, it wishes to sell at least 100,000 units per year which translates to over 8,000 units per month on average. The carmaker further stated that launching an EV would depend on current market conditions which makes it difficult to predict the pricing of electric vehicles, batteries and how infrastructure is built up.
Maruti had started testing a fully electric version of WagonR in 2019 with a vision to launch it by 2020. However, things fell apart as the company decided against a commercial launch for personal usage citing a lack of infrastructure and government support. Recently, the government has introduced several production-linked incentives (PLI) for EVs which would encourage OEMs to manufacture EVs.
This makes it clear that Maruti isn’t looking to gain the first mover’s advantage in the EV space and instead is waiting for consumer demand for EVs to rise. While EVs only make up a fraction of total automobile sales in India, the space has witnessed substantial growth in recent months, thanks to the revised FAME II policies and incentives by various state governments.
Other Power Options
With soaring fuel prices in recent months, automakers have shifted their focus towards alternate fuels, the most common of them all being CNG. Subsequently, demand for CNG vehicles has increased in recent times and Maruti aims to offer a CNG option for its models sold under Arena chain of dealerships. The company revealed that out of over 2 lakh current pending orders, majority are for CNG models.
Government of India is also pushing towards flex-fuel engines which could run on multiple fuels like ethanol. The company revealed that it is working towards development of such vehicles for the future. Recently, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government would make flex-fuel engines mandatory for all manufacturers, once it gets permission from Supreme Court.