Shigeki Terashi, Chief Technology Officer, Toyota Motor Corp, revealed on Twitter that the company is working with Maruti to develop a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). He stated that India is one of the countries where the auto giant would like to establish a presence in BEV at an early stage.
The Toyota electric car for India is likely to share its underpinnings with the upcoming Maruti WagonR EV. While the WagonR EV is slated to be introduced next year, its Toyota derivative will be ready as early as 2021.
Toyota’s partnership with Suzuki has been proving fruitful for both parties in India. While the former was able to establish its presence in the hatchback segment with the Glanza (re-badged Baleno), the latter benefited from enhanced scale of production. More models like Ciaz, Vitara Brezza and Ertiga would undergo the rebadging exercise in the foreseeable future.
The two entities, along with Toshiba (Toyota represented by its auto comp subsidiary Denso) have proposed an investment of Rs 4,930 crore in a lithium-ion battery plant in Gujarat. The plant would help both automakers have high local content on their BEVs which is crucial for getting the pricing right. Estimated to employ 1,000 people, the factory is expected to be completed by 2020, right in time for the Toyota electric car to take advantage of it.
The Toyota electric car for India is expected to be manufactured by Suzuki at its Gujarat plant. Toyota will pitch it with technical support when it comes to the development process. Toyota is the pioneer in hybrid vehicle technology and other avenues of alternative propulsion systems. One can expect an electric powertrain developed with Toyota’s expertise to be reliable and economic.
The technical specifications of the electric vehicle in question is expected to be similar to those of the WagonR EV. With a range of around 150 km, the small green car would be targeting city commuters. Considering that it will be manufactured locally, it is set to receive significant subsidy from the government as a part of FAME-II scheme.
With aggressive pricing, the Toyota EV would give the automaker a great opportunity to tap the Indian mass market segment.