The government’s push to electric vehicles received a boost on Thursday with Maruti’s Japanese parent Suzuki Motor deciding to make electric cars at its factory in Gujarat for India and the world.
It will also be the first commercially-available electric car for Suzuki.
The Japanese company had once showcased an all-electric version for Swift (called Swift REEV, or Range Extender) around 2010. However, this was never commercially produced. Suzuki will use the country as a key global manufacturing base. “For the last 35 years, we have been working towards ‘Make in India’ with you all,” Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki said at a business leaders’ meet in Gujarat where PM Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe were also present. Suzuki will also pump in a fresh $600 million (Rs 3,900 crore) in the state for a new plant at Hansalpur with a capacity of 2.5 lakh units. It will increase investments in the state to over $2.1 billion (Rs 13,400 crore) as it moves to boost annual manufacturing capacity in Gujarat to 7.5 lakh units within the next couple of years.
Suzuki will set up a lithium-ion battery factory that will charge electric, hybrid and other vehicles from the company’s stable. Denso, a Toyota company, will provide the technology, while Toshiba will chip in with cell modules. Together, the three companies will invest $180 million (Rs 1,151 crore) for the plant, which will be operational by 2020. It is expected that the batteries will be used to power Maruti and Suzuki’s electric vehicles, some of which could be all-new ones, while others will be clean-fuel variants of existing petrol/diesel models.