Indian automaker Maruti Suzuki more inclined towards CNG cars than EVs

Indian automaker Maruti Suzuki more inclined towards CNG cars than EVs

In a recent announcement, India’s biggest automaker Maruti Suzuki -- majority-owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation -- said that even though its future is electric vehicles (EVs), the transition to electric will apparently involve the production of a fairly good number of CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles.

With CNG (a cleaner fuel than diesel) being a specialist fuel segment of Maruti Suzuki, the automaker asserted that its efforts towards going electric will chiefly be centred on one important factor --- that is, ‘affordability.’

Highlighting the fact that the automobile market in India differs from the auto market in other countries of the world, Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava said in a last-week statement that the conversion of the company’s small cars into EVs will result in at least a two-fold increase in vehicle costs, at the existing level of battery prices. Indian consumers are price sensitive and any electric car in India must have low cost of ownership in order to be successful in Indian market.

Drawing attention to the fact that India is a small-car-dominated auto market, Bhargava further explained that Indian customers will not be keen on buying a Rs 5 lakh car which costs an addition Rs 6-7 lakh for its electrified version; and added: “So, affordability becomes a huge, huge problem” in the country.

In an evident indication of Maruti Suzuki’s inclination towards CNG vehicles, Bhargava asserted that CNG technology “already exists,” and said that customers “happily” buy a CNG vehicle because “the cost increase of a CNG car compared to a petrol car is very small, around Rs 40,000.”