For Maruti Suzuki, EVs Are One Option To Go Green
India’s largest carmaker has two objectives to go green, for which it's eyeing multiple technologies.
“For the purpose of crude oil import reduction and reduction of carbon footprint, we'll be working on all technologies which help us to achieve this objective,” Rahul Bharti, executive director of corporate planning at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., said on a call with investors following its earnings for the quarter ended June. The technologies, he said, would include ICE engine improvement, electrification and hybrid, natural gas and bio fuels.
“Different segments might respond to different technologies differently and we'll be pursuing all of them in a manner which will give us highest returns [of meeting twin goals],” Bharti said, adding the company will respond to the government’s programme on blending ethanol with transportation fuels, and are also evaluating biofuels. The company is witnessing increased adoption via compressed natural gas, he said.
“We will be firing on all cylinders.”
The comments come at a time when the push towards electric vehicles is picking up pace, albeit slowly, with companies like Hyundai Motor India, Tata Motors Ltd., MG Motor and M&M Ltd., either already having offerings in the segment or planning to launch models in the near future.
Maruti Suzuki, on the other hand, is working on a pilot for a battery-powered variant of its Wagon R. Bharti said testing for the prototype will begin next month along with Toyota to get consumer feedback on user patterns, among other factors. Maruti’s parent, Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp., partnered Toyota Motor Corp. last week to help develop a new range of electric vehicles.
Bharti, however, said until charging infrastructure grows in India, Maruti Suzuki will use hybrid electric vehicles.
Suzuki Motor is setting up a battery plant to make advanced chemistry cells in Gujarat as part of its joint venture with Toshiba Corp., Denso Corp. The first phase of the plant, called TDS Lithium-Ion Battery Pvt., is ready and trial runs are going on, he said.
On availing the government's performance-linked incentives for battery manufacturing earlier this year, Bharti said the group is discussing the details of the scheme with NITI Aayog and other government departments.