New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest carmaker is not very keen on launching an electric car in India anytime soon said chairman RC Bhargava.
Although Maruti Suzuki has been testing the electric Wagon R for some time now, Bhargava said Maruti will launch electric vehicles in the country only after 2025 as demand for such vehicles at the moment is less. He also mentioned that they are not looking to enter the Indian EV space by retailing a few thousand units only, but would like to sell around 10,000 units a month whenever it enters the electric mobility space.
Addressing a virtual conference on Q3 financial results, he further stated that to counter the rising fuel prices, Maruti Suzuki India is intensifying its focus on more CNG offerings of its models rather than battery hybrid or battery electric vehicles.
“Unfortunately, we will not feel happy if we can (sell) 300 or 400 or 500 or even 1,000 cars (a month). For some reason we have gone too much higher volumes, and volumes in 100s and even 1,000s, are very good, but they leave us a little unexcited…So we have to see if I start selling EVs I would like to sell maybe 10,000 EVs in a month or something like that,” Bhargava said.
Company’s like Tata Motors, on the other hand, has been receiving good response for its EVs including the Tata Nexon and the Tata Tigor EV. Replying on Tata’s success, he said, “If I’m selling 2 million cars a year, which I think it will be when things normalise, does it make sense to sell a car less than 1,00,000 a year out of 2 million?”
Asked when could Maruti Suzuki launch its EV, he said, “If I have to give you an outside date it would be post 2025.” Stating that launching an EV would depend on market conditions, Bhargava said at present it is difficult to predict the pricing of electric vehicles, batteries, how the infrastructure is built up and “the costing is not at all in our hands”.
The company has been testing the WagonR based EV for a long now but has been vocal about the initial cost of the car itself. Maruti has earlier said that it would be difficult to launch a sub Rs 10 lakh electric vehicle in India with a good battery range and it makes no sense to launch since an expensive version of a small car like Wagon R.
Asked if the government’s production linked incentives (PLI) for EVs would encourage Maruti Suzuki to accelerate its EV plans, Bhargava said, “In any case our programme of launching an electric vehicle is not going to change because of the PLI scheme. I think a launch date or when you expect to launch the vehicle is something to be decided basically by Suzuki in Japan.”
Maruti Suzuki India Managing Director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said in order to meet the demand for CNG vehicles, the company will increase production for such vehicles while it is also working on plans to offer CNG options in more models in the next few years.