It is common knowledge that Maruti Suzuki is working towards making its debut in the electric vehicle (EV) segment in India with an electrified version of the Wagon R, initially slated to be introduced next year. However, during a recent press conference for the announcement of the company’s quarterly results, Maruti Suzuki revealed that the 2020 timeline for the launch of the Wagon R EV has now been pushed back.
The company believes that a number of factors are acting as impediments towards the mass adoption of electric vehicles in the country, chief of which are a high price tag and a lack of adequate EV-charging infrastructure. Maruti executives have also stated that until such critical issues are ironed out, hybrids could help find common ground between internal combustion engines (ICE) and battery-electrics and thus, prove to be a more viable alternative. With the promise of improved performance and fuel efficiency, the company’s existing crop of mild hybrids in the country has already found a good amount of success. Maruti Suzuki is planning to utilise this momentum by introducing stronger hybrids down the line.
With regards to its first EV, the automaker had begun testing 50 prototypes on the country’s roads late last year. With the launch postponed, further development and testing will continue. As we had previously reported, the Wagon R electric hatchback is touted to have a real-world range of about 130km, with the officially claimed figure to be higher still. The EV is also expected to have fast-charging functionality. While DC fast charging will allow a 0-80 percent charge in under an hour, charging times using a normal AC supply are pegged at around 7hr.
While India’s largest automaker might be shying away from the idea of pure electrics for the time being, many of its competitors are fully embracing it. Hyundai launched the Kona Electric in India recently and is also said to be working on a smaller, more affordable EV. Among Indian manufacturers, Tata has launched an updated iteration of the Tigor EV and plans to introduce the Nexon electric SUV in early 2020. Moreover, Mahindra too plans to bring the all-electric version of the XUV300 to the market next year.