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Maruti Suzuki is readying itself, and is gearing up to launch the electric variant of its popular WagonR hatchback in India. Expectations are that the vehicle will be launched at the Auto Expo 2020, one of the largest events in Asia.
Interestingly, Maruti Suzuki's all-electric WagonR will be available only for can aggregators when it is launched. Mr R C Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki, made that extremely clear during an interview with CNBCTV18. He said that the all electric will be available for Ola and Uber, and government agencies, and not for private buyers.
He said that the cost of electric cars were too high for most private car buyers, and this, we feel is true, especially when it comes to small hatchbacks such as the WagonR Electric. He also said that battery packs for these cars are pricey and that electric cars were meant for people who can take risks in terms of affordability.
Private vehicle buyers who want affordability may have to wait longer simply because of the price tag that the WagonR will carry. Expectations are that the vehicle will be priced above the Rs 10 lakh mark. Add to that a limited travel range of 200 kilometers and it is a fairly impractical vehicle private car owners.
Maruti Suzuki is reportedly going to focus on CNG powered cars for private owners. The company feels that electric cars are still a few years away from becoming practical for private use.
CNG variants are available on a variety of the company's cars including the Alto, the WagonR, the Ertiga and the Dzire. Maruti Suzuki is also adding CNG-Petrol options for their vehicles as they feel dual fuel options are affordable and cost effective.
Thoughts About The WagonR Electric Being Unavailable For Private Owners
We think Maruti Suzuki has a fair point. Electric vehicle are bound to be expensive in the beginning, and prices will reduce over the next few years. It will take a few years to set up infrastructure for these vehicles and costs will reduce as demand grows. We think private vehicle owners should wait until that happens.