The Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) emission norms will come into effect from April 2020, and will bring along with it much tighter emission control equipment on both petrol and diesel cars. This isn’t all. The BS6 norms will also spawn hybrid and electric cars from automakers across the spectrum. Industry leader Maruti Suzuki is betting big on petrol hybrid cars, and has revealed that hybrids could be priced about Rs. 2.5 lakhs higher than petrol powered models.
In other words, the price of petrol-hybrid cars will be similar to that of BS6 diesel powered cars. Fuel efficiency of petrol-hybrid cars is expected to be similar to that of diesels as well. Expect petrol-hybrid cars to be about 30 % more fuel efficient than equivalent petrol powered cars. R.C Bhargava, the chairman of Maruti Suzuki, made the following comments to MoneyControl about the automaker’s pricing of petrol-hybrid cars,
The hybrids will also have a similar cost (increase) as diesel and we have spoken of a hike of Rs 2.5 lakh over a petrol variant. It depends on customer demand and also on what the government will do on GST. What we are talking about is strong hybrids which is the outcome of Suzuki Toyota alliance. The electric vehicle will be out in 2020 and so (the launch of a hybrid car) has to be around the same time.
As Mr. Bhargava’s comments reveal, the first petrol-hybrid cars in Maruti Suzuki’s range are expected to roll out from 2020. The Maruti Suzuki badged 2020 Corolla Altis sedan is likely to be the first proper petrol-hybrid car from the automaker. Currently, Maruti offers mild hybrids on the Ciaz and Ertiga, and mild hybrids are a lot different from full hybrids, which will offer much more powerful electric motors and heavy duty batteries.
Toyota – Suzuki’s new partner in the Indian market for specific business goals – is expected to help out with hybrid vehicle technology. The 1.5 liter K-Series petrol engine found on the likes of the Maruti Ciaz and the new Ertiga is likely to be the first engine from Maruti Suzuki to get the full hybrid treatment. This motor is expected to find its way into the Maruti Suzuki-badged, badge engineered version of the 2020 Toyota Corolla Altis.
Maruti is also prepping a full-electric version of the all-new WagonR hatchback. Road tests have already begun, and in 2020, the WagonR Electric will be launched in India. Maruti Suzuki and Toyota are said to be aggressively lobbying with the Indian government, pushing for a lower rate of GST on full hybrid cars. Word on the street suggests that these automakers want full hybrids to be taxed at par with full-electric cars. The final decision of the Indian government on this matter will determine the popularity of full-hybrid cars in India.
Automakers such as Tata Motors and Mahindra are opposed to any tax cuts on full hybrid cars. They contend that the government’s push towards electric cars will be diluted by offering sops for full hybrid cars. The coming budget in 2019 will be interesting to watch out.