Maruti to roll out e-cars in 2 years

Electric cars from Maruti will hit the roads from 2020 with parent Suzuki deciding to make the green vehicles from its factory in Gujarat that would also supply cars to Toyota. The announcement on the zero-emission vehicles comes at a time when the country grapples with one of its biggest environmental challenge as particulate matter-laden smog and pollution have engulfed large parts of northern India.

Suzuki currently makes cars for Maruti from its plant in Gujarat and will develop the EVs with “technical support” from Toyota. Home-grown Mahindra & Mahindra as well as Tata Motors are currently ahead in the development of electric vehicles, and with the government displaying seriousness on the issue, others are expected to follow suit. Hyundai, Nissan and Renault are also likely to announce plans towards electric vehicles in India soon.

Friday’s announcement will be the first major initiative by the country’s top carmaker Maruti to join the clean-fuel bandwagon after the government warned recently that automakers in India should produce only electric cars from 2030, or be prepared to be “bull-dozed”.

Suzuki and Toyota said that their agreement stems from the initial business partnership plans that they had discussed in February this year.

The two companies also said that they intend to develop an eco-system to support the growth of EVs in the country. “Toyota and Suzuki intend to conduct a comprehensive study of activities for the widespread acceptance and popular use of EVs in India. Such activities encompass the establishment of charging stations, human resources development that includes training for after-service technicians employed throughout sales networks, and systems for the appropriate treatment of end-of-life batteries.”

Suzuki has already unveiled plans to construct a lithium-ion battery plant in Gujarat, where Denso (a Toyota company) will provide technology, while Toshiba will chip in with cell modules.

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