Maruti Suzuki presently offer only mild-hybrids on the Ciaz and Ertiga Diesels. All this could change in the coming years as India’s largest car makers plots a petrol full-hybrid approach as a hedge against electric cars not taking off here and diesels dying out. And Maruti’s full-hybrid petrol cars could cost the same as diesel cars.
Maruti’s full-hybrid petrol cars are expected to cost the same as diesels due to extensive localization of parts used for the hybrid system. A main cost center for hybrid cars is the battery pack used, which is currently imported. Maruti has tied up with Toyota owned parts maker Denso to build lithium ion batteries right here in India. Localization of the battery pack will give Maruti the ability to price future petrol-hybrid cars the same as diesel cars. Petrol-hybrids offer significantly better refinement than diesel powered cars and are also more responsive.
Their running costs are similar to that of diesel powered cars while tail pipe emissions are cleaner, especially when it comes to cancer causing Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions. This is a reason why hybrids are being encouraged all over the world. Also, hybrid cars are expected to act as a bridge technology between petrol/diesel cars and electric cars as full electrification of cars within a short period of time is too expensive.
Electric car charging infrastructure is at its infancy in India, and it will take a few years before electric cars can become mainstream, if at all they completely replace internal combustion engined cars. Until this happens, it makes sense to have petrol-hybrid cars stepping in and filling the gap created by diesel cars getting phased out due to stricter emissions and full-electric cars becoming affordable enough for mass use. Maruti Suzuki has already revealed that full-hybrids are likely to happen with the next major model changes of its existing range of cars comprising the Swift, Dzire, Ciaz and others.