Maruti Suzuki India Limited has decided to set up a lithium ion battery plant in Gujarat in collaboration with Toshiba and Denso. The plant that will most probably be setup near Hansalur, the area which currently has the company’s Gujarat facility, will be owned by Suzuki Motor Corporation and will be the company’s first fully owned unit.
In India, higher attention is being paid to the environment, and new CO2 standards for automobiles is planned to be introduced. In the Indian automotive market where compact cars are the mainstream models, the introduction of sustainable technology suitable for such affordable cars is required.
The announcement was made in April this year that a 1,200 crore plant was going to be setup in India, however, the location wasn’t confirmed. The company now has a JV with Toshiba and Denso for stable supply of lithium-ion battery packs in the country The battery pack manufacturing joint venture by the three companies will realize stable supply of lithium-ion battery packs in India in the course of promoting sustainable cars in the country and will contribute to “Make in India” initiative by the Indian Government.
Mr RC Bhargava, Chairman of Maruti says that – “In the Gujarat facility which Suzuki has set up, the first line of 2.5 lakh units has been already commissioned. Work is going on in the second and third lines that will increase the Gujarat plant capacity to 7.5 million units in two-to-three years. The fourth line of similar capacity is currently under review.”
The company has already begun to look into the electric car market. Electric cars are planned, however, the new models will be based on customer preference, so that they can be present in all the segments to provide the better choice for customers.
Maruti is also looking to bring in the hybrid version of the Swift, something that was spotted in India for the first time a few days back. Currently, only Mahindra Electric has full electric cars on sale in the market, with the E2O Plus and the e-Verito.
Chetan Maini, one of the pioneers of electric vehicles in India and the founder of Reva electric, says he hasn’t seen as much action on electric vehicles as he did in the last nine months.
He said the development of an ecosystem is extremely critical for the evolution of EV market in India. “I think we are at an inflection point. Over the last six to seven years, we saw a number of initiatives from Car makers, but this is the first major initiative we are seeing from the Tier I, which is critical. This will spur the others to invest in the future,” said Maini.