The nascent electric scooter segment in our country is about to witness some serious action as more and more established OEMs decide to participate. Following Bajaj’s big announcement of Chetak electric, Suzuki Motorcycles India has confirmed that it will start testing an electric scooter next year.
Speaking to Moneycontrol, Satoshi Uchida, managing officer and deputy executive general manager in charge of marketing and India, Suzuki Motor Company (Motorcycle division), confirmed that the company is studying the Indian EV market continuously and has already developed a prototype. The testing regime will help the two wheeler maker gain as much information about the country’s EV market as possible.
Suzuki’s decision to jump into the electric two wheeler market before the government establishes sufficient charging infrastructure and ecosystem indicates that the Japanese brand wants to be one of the first movers in this promising segment.
The publication also reports that Suzuki Motorcycles will be taking advantage of Suzuki-Toyota technology partnership for its EV and will also use the JV’s to-be-established touch points across the nations (read as charging points). Denso-Suzuki-Toshiba’s upcoming lithium-ion battery plant in Gujarat is expected to cater to the scooter as well. The company will also make use of Maruti Suzuki’s huge network to maximize the electric scooter’s potential.
Mr. Uchida believes that it will take some time for the Indian customers to embrace electric two wheelers as they are expensive and offer limited range (not to mention the limited charging infrastructure). He says, according to the company’s understanding, first generation EVs will not be a success in India but the third generation ones should succeed.
No details about the Suzuki electric scooter for India is available as of now but we expect the specifications to be at par with those of Ather 450 and Bajaj Chetak. Suzuki will be relying on the government’s FAME-II scheme to make its green scooter a viable urban runabout.
Keeping up with the industry trend, the Suzuki e-scooter is expected to offer color digital display with smartphone connectivity, navigation and several other IoT features. No launch timeline has been discussed yet. Given that testing commences next year, we don’t expect the EV to be ready before 2021.