Maruti To Launch Strong Hybrid Cars (SHEVs) Under Rs 10 Lakhs

Maruti Suzuki's affordable hybrid cars and RC Bhargava

The country’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, is planning to introduce a new line of affordable strong hybrid electric vehicles (SHEVs). Recently, while discussing the future plans regarding ICE alternative vehicles, R.C. Bhargava, Chairman of MSIL, stated that the company is emphasizing SHEVs. He added that Suzuki Japan is working to increase the efficacy of strong hybrid systems to enhance fuel efficiency and slash vehicle emissions.

Maruti To Launch Strong Hybrid Cars (SHEVs) Under Rs 10 Lakhs

R.C. Bhargava, during his interview with Car and Bike, stated,

The cost of the technology which goes into the Toyota hybrids is still quite high, and that is why the cost of the car becomes high. Work is ongoing in Suzuki Japan on evolving better [strong hybrid] technology which will enable smaller cars to take advantage of the principles of hybridization, to improve fuel economies at a much more affordable cost.”

He added, “You can look forward to small cars with much better mileage than what they have today. It all depends on how quickly and how effectively Suzuki Japan can develop technology which is robust and which will give the kind of results we want. At the moment, it’s not there.

Maruti’s plans to introduce hybrids under Rs 10 lakh

Maruti To Launch Strong Hybrid Cars (SHEVs) Under Rs 10 Lakhs

At present, Maruti Suzuki’s strong hybrid technology is limited to two of its most expensive cars. These include the Grand Vitara and Invicto premium MPV. Currently, there are no offerings priced below Rs. 10 lakh that offer strong hybrid technology.

However, the company’s parent firm, Suzuki Japan, is working to bridge this gap. It is believed that soon the company will be offering more cost-effective and thus accessible strong hybrids to a broader segment of consumers. At the moment, which cars will be getting this currently in development hybrid system has not been disclosed. We anticipate that most of Maruti Suzuki’s best sellers in the sub-10 lakh segments will receive the low cost strong hybrid technology.

In other words, the likes of the Maruti Swift, Baleno, Fronx, Dzire and Brezza are very likely to get a new powertrain with strong hybrid technology. This should in turn make these cars as fuel efficient as diesels while maintaining the high level of refinement and smoothness petrols are known for. The upcoming all-new Swift and Dzire will get mild hybrid powertrains, as a precursor to strong-hybrid powertrains.

Suzuki Japan’s cars that get strong hybrid systems

Maruti To Launch Strong Hybrid Cars (SHEVs) Under Rs 10 Lakhs

In Japan, strong hybrid systems are predominantly available on larger passenger vehicles like the Suzuki Solio and Landy. Their prices start at levels beyond the reach of the average Indian car buyer, equivalent to over Rs. 10 lakhs.

In the Indian market, as mentioned above, Maruti Suzuki currently offers only two strong hybrid vehicles. Both of these SUVs are part of a collaboration with Toyota. The most accessible strong hybrid variant of the Grand Vitara is priced at Rs. 18.43 lakhs (ex-showroom).

Maruti Suzuki is hoping for a reduction in GST on strong hybrids

Maruti To Launch Strong Hybrid Cars (SHEVs) Under Rs 10 Lakhs
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara

Maruti Suzuki, according to R.C. Bhargava, is in anticipation of a potential reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on strong hybrid cars. The Indian government is mulling on reducing the GST from the current 43% to 12% in the future.

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has advocated for this reduction. He recently stated that a lower GST rate would undoubtedly make a significant difference in the affordability of strong hybrid cars in the country.

Hence, it will also help in increasing the attractiveness of strong hybrid cars to Indian consumers. This will then translate to a potentially accelerated rate of adoption of strong hybrids across the nation.

The finance ministry has yet to sign off on the proposed lower rate of taxation on strong hybrid cars. If and when this happens, hybrids will look a lot more attractive to buyers than even electric cars.

The inevitability of hybrids

Emission norms are only expected to get stricter and for manufacturers to make sure their petrol powered cars qualify these norms, some amount of hybridization becomes essential. Mild hybrids can only do so much for cutting emissions, which means that strong hybrids are inevitable. Already, strong hybrid cars that Maruti Suzuki sells have fuel efficiency figures close to 30 Kmpl.

So, the next generation of strong hybrid cars from Maruti are likely to deliver 30-35 Kmpl, making them meet the stricter upcoming emissions as well as offering customers fuel efficiency numbers never seen before. This could also lead to a delay in electrification as strong hybrid cars are far more practical for everyday use than electric vehicles (EVs) as they stand today.