New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest carmaker, will start testing 50 prototype electric vehicles (EVs) on Indian roads, Osamu Suzuki, chairman of the parent company, Suzuki Motor Corp. of Japan, said at the Global Mobility Summit on Friday.

Suzuki Motor Corp., which has collaborated with Toyota Motor Corp. for making small electric vehicles for the Indian market, will launch its first EV in the domestic market in 2020.

“We have decided to launch EVs in India around 2020 in cooperation with Toyota Motor Corporation. I am pleased to announce today that we will start road running tests using a fleet of 50 EV prototype vehicles in India from next month for developing safe and easy-to-use electric vehicles for Indian customers in line with Indian climatic and traffic conditions," said Suzuki.

Suzuki Motor is also setting up a lithium ion battery manufacturing plant in Gujarat in collaboration with Denso Corp. and Toshiba Corp.

Suzuki Motor will invest in developing a range of hybrid vehicles with Toyota for the Indian market.

In the current fiscal year, Suzuki Motor will invest 1.5 billion Japanese yen, the highest ever for research and development of electric and hybrid vehicles, mostly for the Indian market.

“We have also decided to start production of lithium-ion batteries for automobiles at our battery plant in Gujarat in 2020 and will continue to dedicate ourselves to the realisation of a sustainable mobility society in line with great concept of Make In India," said Suzuki.

Maruti Suzuki is conducting a survey to gauge customer expectations about EVs. The company will invest in setting up charging infrastructure in some cities and towns once it introduces its first EV in India, Kenichi Ayukawa, chief executive of Maruti Suzuki India, said in an interview with Mint in February.

“Regarding increasing the penetration of EVs in India, it is obvious that it cannot be done without sufficient charging infrastructure development. In this regard, we look forward to proactive leadership from the government of India," said Suzuki.

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