Toyota-Suzuki to roll out small electric car by 2020

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NEW DELHI: The partnership between Japanese carmakers Toyota and SuzukiBSE -0.72 % will roll out a small electric car for the mass segment in India and elsewhere by 2020, an industry executive said. The car is likely to be manufactured at Suzuki’s plant in Gujarat, the person told ET on condition of anonymity.

Japan’s largest carmaker Toyota Motor Corporation also plans to electrify 80% of its portfolio by 2022, the person said. Akito Tachibana, managing director at Toyota’s Indian subsidiary Toyota Kirloskar, said the company will have a range of electrified solutions in the future. He expects hybrid vehicles — which combine conventional fuel-powered engine with an electric motor to improve fuel efficiency — to play a significant role in India’s drive to meet its emission commitments.

“Keeping Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulation (fuel efficiency norms in the US) in mind, a small EV (electric vehicle) is a best boy but for larger segments hybrid vehicles are ideal,” Tachibana told ET in an interview. He urged the government to come out with a long-term policy that promotes hybrids. “We need to know what is the intent of the government, is it cutting down on imports of oil, or, is it meeting the CO2 regulation, or reducing emissions?” he said.


He said hybrid vehicles are 45% more fuel efficient than the conventional internal combustion engines (ICEs). “Going ahead, all fuels will have a role to play,” Tachibana said. “Diesel and petrol have their pros and cons, but hybrids are ideal to meet both reducing emission and improving efficiency.”

He declined to share the number of hybrids Toyota Kirloskar plans to have in the near future, but said the company has initiated an internal study to find “who is the buyer of EV” by 2020, given that challenges of infrastructure, range and battery costs still persist. He did not confirm the plan to roll out a small EV through Toyota’s partnership with Suzuki, but said rebadging is not an issue.


Written by Loknath Das