Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car manufacturer has started working on future hybrid models or Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV). These are different from pure electric vehicles. The HEV run on fossil fuel and charges the battery in the vehicle that can be used to propel the vehicle.
MoneyControl reports that Maruti Suzuki is working with its partner – Toyota to develop a new breed of vehicles for the Indian market. Maruti Suzuki is the largest car manufacturer in India. However, it is yet to launch an electric car for the Indian market as the rivals like Tata Motors, Mahindra and even Hyundai have their products in the EV segment.
Rahul Bharti, Executive Director, Corporate Planning and Government Affairs, Maruti Suzuki said,
“There is a joint testing program of some electric vehicles; these prototypes will be tested starting next month along with Toyota. We are planning to get more consumer feedback on usage patterns, etc. Till the time charging infrastructure grows in India you will need self-charging machines, so towards that, we will be using hybrid electric vehicles.”
With the EV charging infrastructure still developing in India, Maruti Suzuki says that Hybrid Electric Vehicles will be a strong choice in the market for the next 12-15 years.
Hybrid vehicles work by using kinetic energy when the vehicle slows down to charge the batteries. Also, the system draws power from the internal combustion engine to charge the batteries. Since the charging system is independent of the charging infrastructure.
Higher fuel efficiency
The batteries, in turn, power an electric motor that helps the vehicle to accelerate. Some manufacturers even allow the vehicle to run on pure electric power too. This reduces the burden on the internal combustion engine and increases the fuel efficiency of the car.
Bharti also said,
“It’s a strong technology for the next 10-15 years and it has a lot of merits, it can scale up without the dependence on external charging infrastructure, and offers a good reduction in emissions,”
Maruti Suzuki offers mild hybrid cars
Currently, Maruti Suzuki offers Mild Hybrid technology, which is also known as the Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki or SHVS. The mild-hybrid system is a basic set-up that uses a similar principle to charge an extra battery in the vehicle.
However, the power from the extra battery is only used to power electrical units when the vehicle shuts off automatically at the traffic signals or while idling. Maruti Suzuki also claims that the energy stored in the batteries also help the engine when accelerating.
There are quite a handful of hybrid vehicles available in the Indian market including the Toyota Camry, BMW 7-Series and even Lexus LC500h. In the past, Honda offered the Civic Hybrid and even the Accord Hybrid. Honda is planning to bring the all-new City Hybrid for the Indian market, which can be a gamechanger for the brand.
Maruti Suzuki is yet to reveal the details of the strong hybrid cars that they are developing at the moment. However, the new models should arrive in the Indian market in the next few years. Maruti Suzuki already showcased the Swift Hybrid at the 2020 Auto Expo.