Latest Car News in India

Monday, September 22, 2014

By Jitendra Singh

Maruti Suzuki to bring hybrid versions of Alto and Swift hatchbacks

Maruti Suzuki is working on a low-cost hybrid technology to make its cheap-to-own cars even more frugal. Maruti is aiming to make hybrids affordable and wants to offer the technology on cars right from the Alto, the cheapest in its product portfolio, to the Swift premium hatchback over the next three to four years, said people with knowledge of the carmaker's plans. In the process, it is taking the 'Kitna Deti Hai' (how many miles does it give) slogan to the next level. These people said Maruti's hybrid solution could deliver 20-30% more fuel economy. "It is no more a concept. The real work is under way and the hybrid technology development is at an advanced stage," said one of the people. "A large part of the development is happening in Japan and key inputs from Indian R&D engineers are also being absorbed. The idea is to offer a technology to the mass with not a major price difference over existing petrol cars." 
 
Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 Front View Picture
For Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 review click here
Hybrid vehicles usually have a non-conventional propulsion system, such as an electric motor, in addition to the engine that runs on conventional fuel. They also often include mechanisms to capture energy, such as while braking, to recharge the battery. While hybrid vehicles offer better fuel efficiency and are more environment friendly, heftier price compared with those running on conventional fuels has been the biggest hurdle for their wider adoption globally. Maruti chairman RC Bhargava told ET in a recent interaction that Suzuki, the Japanese parent of India's No. 1 car maker by sales, has already started working on the hybrids. Maruti has communicated the need for a suitable hybrid car for India as well, he said. "We need a hybrid system suitable for small cars which is low cost. The systems available today are expensive. I do think the development of low-cost hybrid is necessary, quite like the AMT we came out with," Bhargava said. 
 
Maruti Suzuki Swift Front Angle View Picture
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Maruti was the first to introduce an AMT, or automated manual transmission, version in India with its Celerio. This clutch-less technology, which combines the fuel efficiency of manual transmission with the convenience of automatic cars without any major spike in the price of the hatchback, has been a major attraction for buyers. "Nobody else does the AMT at that scale, but the Indian customers require that AMT in small cars. People can't afford to get an automatic at Rs 1 lakh premium," Bhargava said. "And, we need the same thing in hybrids." 
 
Read complete story at Economic Times

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