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Maruti Suzuki talks about electric car – Says making it affordable will be a challenge

The electric vehicle segment in India has been in the headlines since the government shared its vision of an all-electric car nation by 2030.Tata Motors and Mahindra At first, we had competing against each other for the bulk order of 10,000 e-vehicles from the government and now we have Maruti Suzuki charting out plans for their first e-vehicle in India.

In a recent interview with The Hindu, Mr. R C Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd stated “We (the industry) have 75 per cent of small cars out of the total passenger car market, and if we have to make them affordable (electric vehicle), that is a tough job.”

MSIL plans to start the survey in next 2-3 weeks and have results by end of February 2018.

To begin with, MSIL will start conducting a survey to understand what customers think of electric vehicles and will also try and gauge the expectations of the consumers from these zero-emission vehicles. Mr. Bhargava pointed out that till now, no other OEM has done such a survey and MSIL would be the first one to do so. He also gave credit to a similar customer survey for the success of Maruti 800, the first car from MSIL’s stable.

Mr. Bhargava accepted that MSIL currently lacks the knowledge and know-how of the EVs, but he mentioned that the joint venture between Suzuki Corporation, Japan and Toyota will help in this regard as the JV is dealing with the future products. “The joint venture will start with the framework. Where would manufacture of the cars take place (which plant) are not decided yet. A lot of details have to be worked out right now,” Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MSIL, added.

Maruti confirmed that the electric vehicles from its stable will be manufactured, sold and serviced in India.

Currently, Mahindra Electric, the e-vehicle arm of Mahindra & Mahindra is the only OEM which offers EVs in India. Customers have an option to choose between e2O Plus, an electric hatch-back & eVerito which happens to be a Verito with an electric drive-train.

Images in this post are of Suzuki Swift Range Extender EV Concept.

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