German auto parts maker Bosch has been spied testing a Maruti Baleno SHEV in Bangalore, a city where Bosch has multiple production facilities and more importantly a research and development operation. SHEV stands for strong hybrid electric vehicle, and it refers to a high capacity battery pack and multiple modes (full electric, engine assist/boost, coasting and brake energy regeneration) for the hybrid powertrain. The Baleno SHEV petrol hybrid spied uses a 48V battery pack, and the premium hatchback could be a test mule that has no connection with Maruti Suzuki except for the donor car. Bosch has been known to test its upcoming technological innovation on a slew of cars, spanning multiple automakers. So, it’s too early to surmise that the Baleno SHEV being tested by Bosch has a direct connection with Maruti Suzuki, and that this technology would be offered in the Baleno in the coming months.
Spyshot courtesy Team-BHP
Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki is working on a slew of hybrid cars for the Indian car market as it seeks to replace its diesel powered cars from April 2020, when the Bharat Stage 6 emission norms come into force. 48V ‘strong hybrids’, which refer to hybrid cars that get a much bigger battery pack than mild hybrids, and that have an all-electric mode, could be offered on Maruti Suzuki cars in future.
Maruti is working with Toyota and Denso (A Toyota owned auto parts maker) to implement hybrid powertrain technology on its cars. The first such hybrid was the Baleno SHVS – a mild hybrid car that uses a batter pack mainly to support the petrol engine for acceleration and reduce load on the car’s alternator. The mild hybrid unit also uses brake regeneration technology, which uses a flywheel to generate electricity and recharge the battery everytime the car is braked.
The Baleno SHVS uses a BoosterJet petrol engine, which is in other words refers to direct injection for the 1.2 liter-4 cylinder petrol engine. This makes the petrol engine more powerful than the regular 1.2 liter K-Series unit, with 90 Bhp-113 Nm outputs compared to the latter’s 82 Bhp-113 Nm outputs. The mild hybrid unit on the Baleno makes the car more fuel efficient, with a ARAI rated mileage of 23.87 Kmpl, which is nearly 2 Kmpl more than the non-hybrid petrol trim. Both the petrol and petrol-hybrid variants of the car get 5 speed manual gearboxes as standard. A SHEV Hybrid on the Baleno is likely to be a lot more fuel efficient than the mild hybrid version. Expect the car to match the diesel engined model in terms of fuel efficiency.