NEW DELHI :
Maruti Suzuki India ltd - country’s largest vehicle manufacturer- will focus on developing vehicles with compressed natural gas and hybrid powertrains till electric vehicles become affordable. The union government is urging vehicle manufacture to shift towards development and manufacturing of electric vehicles in the next decade to reduce air pollution and oil imports.
Maruti has already started testing its first electric vehicle based on its hatchback Wagon R but the company thinks in the interim period CNG and hybrid engine based vehicles will offer a solution.
"The company is working on Electric Vehicle (EV) development. In addition, till the time EVs gain prominence overcoming the lack of infrastructure and high costs, a more workable solution is to promote other powertrain options of clean energy like CNG and hybrid EVs. We are thankful to the Government of India and appreciate their efforts in increasing the CNG distribution network in the country," said Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director, Maruti Suzuki in its annual report.
Maruti’s parent Suzuki Motor Co has already collaborated with Toyota Motor Co, for developing affordable hybrid and electric vehicles for the Indian market. Suzuki along with Denso Corp and Toshiba Corp invested in setting up a lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity in Gujarat.
Maruti Suzuki though is reeling under the pressure of continuous decline in vehicle sales in India due to the overall decline in economic activity and lack of availability of credit from financial institutions. In June, the company’s vehicle sales declined sharply by 36%.
“BS6 norms and the impact on smaller diesel vehicles is one factor that is resulting in the lower sale of cars this year. However, the market response to the BSVI vehicles that have been introduced has been excellent and customers appreciate new technology and the ‘greenness’ of the vehicles. The increased sale of petrol and CNG vehicles in the future should more than compensate for the discontinuance of diesel vehicles," said R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki, in its latest annual report.