It’s important to start by mentioning that Suzuki and Toyota have been working together on various business initiatives since 2016 and later in 2019 also entered into capital alliance whereby both acquired small shareholding into each other.
In Auto industry (especially cars) it’s common for companies enter into such arrangements. Skoda and Volkswagen, Renault and Nissan are similar other examples.
Coming back to the current post…
In India Maruti (because of Suzuki) and Toyota have been doing lot of cross badging (Glanza/ Baleno, Brezza/ Urban Crusier) since the above global partnership came into effect. Parallelly they have also been working on developing technologies for future e.g., Electric Vehicles (EV) and Autonomous Vehicles.
Now Maruti has announced that they believe that charging infrastructure in India continues to be a challenge for full adoption of EVs and they don’t expect that to be resolved in short to medium term. In the interim they believe hybrid is the solution which offers a good reduction in emissions and a better mileage and hence is more greener than the current offerings. The Company expects hybrid to be the answer for environmental concerns atleast for the next 10-15 years before the charging infrastructure develops in a more practical sense.
In 2020, in Europe, Suzuki had launched the Swace, a hybrid electric vehicle which was developed in partnership with Toyota since it is based on the Toyota Corolla estate. The combination of 3.6 kW battery and a 1.8 litre petrol engine the self-charging Swace delivers a mileage of 27 km per litre.
In self-charging cars, an internal combustion engine (ICE) provides energy to the batteries besides wheel rotation which is an additional power source. Since batteries power the car such a vehicle delivers higher mileage than a pure ICE car.
What Maruti has said actually does make sense as a layman. However, in today’s world developments can be very quick and there is a history of companies collapsing due to them not being able to accept the changing trend. Nokia in phones and Kodak in photography are popular examples.
Hopefully, Maruti and Toyota would continue to be equally focused on development of EVs and be ready whenever the supporting infrastructure happens.
It’s also pertinent to mention here that Maruti and Toyota are not alone in terms of their views about EVs in India. Actually, other than Tata no one else seem to be too focused on introducing EVs in India. Even Tatas are selective and seem to be testing the waters. They do parallelly keep on introducing guzzlers (e.g., Safari, Harrier) as well.