Maruti Suzuki– India’s largest car manufacturer doesn’t seem to be in any pressure to create an electric car. Their much talked about Electric WagonR won’t come out this year, and any trials and testing have been severely dented by the lockdown. In an interview with Economic Times, Maruti Suzuki India Chairman R C Bhargava pegged the blame on a severe lack of infrastructure and support from the Government for their lack of involvement in the segment. Whatever might be the reason, I believe that Maruti needs to think ahead or risk repeating the mistakes of some fallen ‘segment-leaders‘ of the past.
In this article, I will introduce three versions of the ‘Eco’ Maruti Swift – 2015 Range Extender Swift, 2020 Swift Hybrid, and a possible all-electric ‘Futuro’ Swift.
Is Suzuki really serious about an electric future or is the 2020 hybrid model another gimmick? Will there be an all-electric Maruti Swift? Let’s find out.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Range Extender with 48.2 kmpl range!
We were all blown away when Suzuki showcased their Swift Range Extender with 48.2 kmpl of Range in 2015. It was the most fuel-efficient car in India beating the then highest BMW i8 Hybrid by a small yet significant 0.75 kms. This is where Suzuki’s electric future should have ideally begun. However, after that, the Range Extender took an extended hiatus.
The Swift Hybrid RE had a 660cc, 3 cylinder petrol engine paired to an electric motor. Its battery went from 0 to 100% in 90 minutes. The electric motor alone can return 25 kilometers range but on normal running, it works alongside the petrol engine as both a motor and a generator (charging the battery).
For its extra range, customers had to comprise with 600 kgs of additional weight and a smaller boot.
Swift Hybrid 2020
Maruti showcased another Hybrid Swift at this year’s Auto Expo which can be seen as a long-overdue successor to the Range Extender. With a ‘mere’ 32 kpl of range, the car is definitely not as exciting as its predecessor. The world has moved leaps and bounds since 2015 and ideally, this model should have come out in 2017 or 2018 when Hybrids were all in the rave.
Powering the 2020 Swift Hybrid is a JDM-spec 1.2-liter four-cylinder petrol engine paired to a 10kW motor. The combination is good for 91 hp- paired to a five-speed AMT.
Suzuki has yet-again showcased an international variant with no confirmation of its future in India. We seriously doubt its prospect and that begs the question, “Will we ever see a Swift EV“?
The 20?? Swift Electric!
Suzuki could showcase an all-electric ‘Futuro’ Swift at the 2026 Auto Expo. However, that would be an international variant too and the production-spec one will take another five year!
Jokes aside, Maruti has not given a clear outline for their Electric future and is concentrating on hybrids and CNG at the moment. These are good starting steps but also seems like a convenient way to not address the ‘green elephant’ in the room. The rise of Tesla has shown us just how brittle the Automotive sector is and the biggest manufacturers should try to constantly innovate to stay ahead of the curve.