Maruti Suzuki is planning to launch its first small electric car in 2020. It will most likely make an official debut at the Auto Expo in February next year. The upcoming car will be based on the new generation model of Japan-spec WagonR. As the world is shifting its focus away from ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered vehicles to EVs (Electric Vehicles), Maruti Suzuki believes that India is not yet ready for full-scale electric passenger cars.
The brand recently also announced that they are going to stop selling diesel cars in India starting from April next year. All this is happening because last year in October the Supreme Court announced that by April 1, 2020, all the automobile manufacturers have to adopt BSVI emission norms. Bharat Stage VI (BS6) norms are two stages ahead of the present Bharat Stage IV norms in regulating emissions.
These norms are the standards instituted by the government to regulate the emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The amount of Sulphur is the major difference between BSIV and BSVI norms. BSIV fuels contain 50ppm sulphur while BSVI grade fuel only has 10ppm of sulphur. Making the cars BSVI-compliant will require very high investment in research and development to upgrade the engines.
India’s leading carmaker Maruti Suzuki has raised some serious concerns regarding the adaptability to electric vehicles and commented that in the current regulatory regime, even a small petrol car like WagonR which starts from INR 4.30 lakhs would cost up to INR 12 lakhs in its all-electric avatar. That’s a lot of amount for a car of WagonR’s size.
The price of a small EV could go beyond the reach of small car owners. Also, a proper infrastructure is also required to charge the car as most of the people in India park their cars outside their house so it would not be possible for them to charge the car.
Maruti Suzuki recently unveiled the prototype of their upcoming WagonR EV and they also had put around 50 units on test on the Indian roads. So it would be interesting to see that in the near future how the scenario of the upcoming electric cars would change and how many people would be ready to own an all-electric car in India.
Note: The Images of Next-Gen Suzuki WagonR used in the article are for representational purpose only. The exterior and interior design of the first small electric car by Maruti Suzuki is expected to based on the new Japan-spec WagonR.