At a time when the automobile market, dictated by government policies and concerns over pollution, is moving towards electric mobility, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) appears to be playing its cards smartly.
The time taken to produce and sell electric vehicles in such large numbers at affordable market prices is quite long. To manage the situation in-between, the Japanese auto maker is switching to hybrid models, as per an Economic Times. The company says it has stopped manufacturing diesel vehicles in India. There will be a shift towards CNG and hybrid cars, which can be priced at levels the Indian market can absorb.
This may be a winning formula for the company and make it one of the leading contributors to cutting down on CO2 emissions.
Maruti Suzuki has set for itself a target of one million green vehicles for the midterm. This will have around 50% vehicles running on CNG, around 25-30% will be the 48-volt smart hybrids and the remaining pureplay electric cars as well as some stronger parallel hybrids.
The parallel hybrid technology has been developed by its parent company in Japan, Suzuki Motor Corporation and it will be brought to India by MSIL. The Indian outfit has already developed 8 models running on CNG.
The company may decide that all its entry level and the next higher segment models are made only in the CNG version. These constitute a very high proportion of the vehicles sold by the company and Maruti being the largest seller of cars in the country can bring in a visible change in the pollution levels in major cities. There will be the effect of reduction in the oil import bill as well, going ahead.
However, CNG refilling stations are still not so widespread in the country. There are only select states where the fuel is available. Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad are the cities where CNG stations are available. Since the running cost of CNG is lower than that of diesel, you can expect that the vehicle users won’t mind switching to these vehicles provided adequate number of CNG stations are available.