As we all know Maruti Suzuki is gearing up to roll out it’s first Electric Vehicle sometime in 2020. Maruti Suzuki has tied up with Toyota India to jointly develop a scalable EV platform that can be used by both of the companies to develop and sell different Electric Vehicles in India. Maruti Suzuki is also in the process of setting up a Lithium-Ion battery factory in Gujarat with Denso, which is a Japanese auto parts company owned by Toyota. Jointly they are said to be investing ₹12’000 crores on the factory to meet the upcoming demand. But recent media reports suggest Maruti Suzuki may also be developing Electric cars on their own to exclusively sell in developing markets like India and export to other similar markets.
Though there has been a lot of buzz regarding upcoming Electric Vehicles in India. But there is this lingering question of affordability of such vehicles. And as we know Maruti Suzuki has been the king of affordability in India. So when Maruti Suzuki’s CEO and MD, Kenichi Ayukawa, was asked the same question, here is what he had to say:
Affordability is a concern, and we can’t seem to find answers. It’s very difficult (to price the electric car between 5-6 lakhs)… practically impossible, I think so. It (building all-new electric cars or electrifying current cars) is still not clear. We have started planning just now. Affordability has been our philosophy from the very beginning. It has not changed over the past 35 years.
Right now there is one big reason that makes Electric Vehicles so expensive. That is our current battery technology and a very limited supply of it. Right now good electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries for better range and relative lighter weight with higher energy density.
And with many Govts around the world calling for a ban on all traditional petrol or diesel cars in certain cities also has manufacturers rushing for making their own Electric Vehicles and creating an artificial shortage of lithium-ion batteries. And that is making the whole situation for the introduction of Electric Vehicles in a market like in India even more sticky for manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki.
But all is not doom and gloom. Worldwide lithium production said to be increasing by 2020. So does the production of lithium-ion batteries. Though the launch of electric vehicles in India might not be as hickup free as manufacturers might have wanted. But everything seems to start to easing as 2021 rolls around.