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The lithium-ion batteries will be sourced from Suzuki Motor Corp's upcoming battery plant in Gujarat. Lithium-ion batteries have a long life of more than five years. While lead-based batteries last for just over a year.
Sources aware of the development told Livemint that the change to lithium-ion batteries will also benefit the company two-fold.
The lithium-ion batteries will also be more cost-effective compared to the lead-based ones. The move will further help their Gujarat plant to achieve economies of scales.
Suzuki will set up the battery manufacturing plant as a joint venture with Toshiba and Denso Corp. The companies have invested a total of Rs 1,152 crore in the project.
Once the plant has been set up, Suzuki will also use the batteries to power electric two-wheelers. The first Suzuki electric two-wheeler is expected to be launched by 2020.
Maruti Suzuki is also planning to launch their first electric vehicle around the same time. The company is expected to roll out the electric version of the WagonR as their first EV in India.
Maruti Suzuki will be the first car manufacturer to produce lithium-ion batteries in India for mass models. Currently, all the lithium-ion batteries used are imported from China.
With prices of lead increasing constantly, lithium-ion batteries will prove to be more cost-effective in the future.
Currently, lead batteries cost anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000. While lithium-ion batteries come with a price tag ranging from Rs 16,000 to Rs 17,000.
Suzuki is also planning to invest in hybrids and other electric technologies, which will use lithium-ion batteries.
The Union government is also taking steps to reduce the usage of lead in automobiles. The department has withdrawn subsidies for vehicles using lead batteries, under the FAME scheme.
Thoughts On Suzuki Switching To Lithium-ion Batteries On Its Lineup
With the prices of lead constantly rising, the move to lithium-ion batteries will be cheaper for the company. The Gujarat battery plant is expected to be ready by 2020. All models from Maruti Suzuki from the Swift will soon feature the new long-lasting lithium-ion batteries.