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Maruti Suzuki Chairman, RC Bhargava confirmed that the company would introduce electric cars in India, which will be developed under the Suzuki-Toyota partnership.
Maruti's decision to launch electric cars in India comes at a time when the government is planning to shift to electric vehicles by 2030. Bhargava said that the company would manufacture and sell electric cars in India. He also mentioned that Maruti Suzuki has no technology for EVs.
Maruti Suzuki will borrow the technology from the Suzuki-Toyota joint venture. When asked about the details of the company's first electric car, Bhargava said that it would be too early to say anything about it. But he stated that, one of the key points to make people use electric vehicles is to provide affordable cars.
Maruti Suzuki will also conduct a survey in the country to understand what Indian buyers expect in an electric car. The report is supposed to be ready by February 2018 which will determine what kind of electric car will be introduced in 2020.
With the advent of electric cars, the equally important aspect is the charging infrastructure, and Maruti Suzuki is confident to set up its charging stations in the country. The company also stated that it would not require any foreign or external partner to set up charging stations.
Currently, Mahindra is the only automaker that retails electric cars, the e2o and eVerito. Mahindra is also planning to introduce three new EVs in the country by 2020. Tata Motors has also entered the electric vehicle segment, but does not retail commercially.
Tata Motors has already started the production of Tigor electric vehicle and has supplied the first batch of cars to the government. The deal is the part of government's tender to procure 10,000 electric vehicles to promote the use of electric vehicles in India.
The major drawbacks for electric vehicles in India are the price and charging infrastructure. The lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles are expensive as they are imported which increases the price of the electric vehicles. For example, the prices for the Mahindra e2o starts at Rs 7.57 lakh ex-showroom (Delhi), which is dearer by quite a margin when compared to a conventional hatchback.
Maruti Suzuki has finally revealed the launch timeline of its first electric car in India. But no details are available as of now. Maruti Suzuki is known for its affordable cars in the country, and the same can be expected in the electric vehicle segment. If Maruti manages to produce affordable EVs, it will be a big boost to government's plan of going all-electric by 2030.