Back in 2018, 50 test mules of the WagonR electric car were flagged off by Maruti Suzuki – To be tested across India
Maruti Suzuki WagonR Electric has been one of the most spotted, yet to be launched EV on Indian roads. Test mules of WagonR Electric have been captured all across the country, including in hill stations like Kufri where Maruti would have been trying to do sub 0 temperature testing.
Launch of this electric car was expected to take place in 2020. But that did not happen, Covid19 pandemic was believed to be the reason. But now, a new report from Economic Times claims that the plan to launch WagonR electric in India has been shelved. This comes at a time when the test mules of WagonR electric or what was claimed to be XL5 EV, continues to be on test near company plant in Manesar.
Techno Commercial Viability Issues
The Maruti EV project had already faced multiple delays in the past. Though there is no update from Maruti Suzuki, ET’s sources have confirmed that the company has decided to halt the project due to “techno-commercial viability issues”. The WagonR Electric was going to have considerable number of imported components which would have led to increase in its costing.
With the increase in costs, Maruti wasn’t sure if the pricing of the product could be appropriate for it to become a big number churner. Most Maruti products manage good monthly sales of 3-4K units or more. Hence, Maruti didn’t want to bring in the WagonR EV if it would have been able to manage just triple digit sales.
Interestingly, Toyota was also planning on an EV for India which would have been based on the Maruti EV, however with the discontinuation of WagonR EV, the Toyota’s project also will get shelved. As per earlier report, Maruti had plans to launch WagonR electric at Rs 12 lakhs. Interestingly, Tata launched an electric SUV at Rs 14 lakhs last year.
Journey Till Now
Maruti had started the WagonR electric project in 2018 by commencing testing on 50 units of WagonR which were based on the model sold in Japan. Later in 2019, Maruti built new prototypes too which were based on the Indian WagonR and continued with testing.
While the WagonR project has been shelved, Maruti will still be looking forward to bringing in an electric car for the Indian market later in the future. We expect that the new Maruti EV for Indian market will now come around 2023 and it might land up being a cross-over or an SUV, considering the growing liking of Indian customers for those body types.
In the meanwhile, Suzuki has set up a dedicated Lithium-ion battery plant in Gujarat which shall start operations around mid-2021. This plant will help Suzuki to plan on full-hybrid and EVs in the future, and additionally provide the cost-advantage through heavy localization of components.