Maruti Suzuki Pushes for Hybrid Adoption Over Traditional Engines

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Maruti Suzuki argues for strong hybrids over petrol and diesel cars, highlighting their efficiency and lower emissions.

Maruti Suzuki’s executive director of corporate affairs, Rahul Bharti, recently emphasized that strong hybrids should be viewed as replacements for traditional petrol and diesel vehicles rather than as competitors to electric vehicles (EVs). During a media interaction, Bharti pointed out the environmental and efficiency benefits of hybrids, highlighting the significant advantages they offer over internal combustion engine (ICE) models.

Benefits of Strong Hybrids

Bharti cited the Grand Vitara hybrid as an example, noting that it produces 26 percent lower CO2 emissions and is 36 percent more fuel-efficient compared to its petrol counterpart. Similarly, the Maruti Invicto hybrid is 44 percent more fuel-efficient than its petrol version. He stressed that hybrids play a crucial role in reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency in the mid-term, stating, “The debate is not between EV and strong hybrid. Both are excellent technologies. Both need to be encouraged. The debate is between strong hybrids and IC engines. I cannot imagine a situation, and nobody can justify why IC engines should be preferred over strong hybrid.”

Addressing Misconceptions About Hybrids

Bharti also addressed a recent report by a think tank that claimed hybrids do not effectively reduce emissions and are often used in pure petrol mode. He refuted this, explaining, “In a strong hybrid electric vehicle, it is the computer that optimises both drivetrains, the IC engine and the battery motor combination, and there is no option given to the driver to run in pure ICE mode.”

Maruti’s Hybrid Strategy and Future Plans

Maruti Suzuki is one of the few mass-market carmakers in India to offer hybrid options. The company plans to expand its petrol-electric portfolio, starting next year. Along with the series-parallel hybrid technology used in the Grand Vitara and Invicto, Maruti will introduce a new series hybrid powertrain in the upcoming Fronx facelift. Additionally, Maruti is set to launch its first all-electric vehicle, the eVX, in 2025.

Bharti elaborated on the balance between hybrids and EVs, stating, “We should try to maximize EVs, and that still leaves a lot of room for IC engines because EV cars will not reach a penetration of 100 or 80 percent in the next 10 to 15 years. For the balance ICE vehicles, can we do something to improve CO2 or improve energy efficiency?” In this context, hybrids are a logical mid-term strategy.

Government Policy and Market Trends

The Indian government is considering reducing taxes on hybrids, though this policy faces opposition from companies like Tata Motors. While brands such as Mahindra, Kia, and Hyundai are exploring hybrid options, they also have definitive EV plans. Currently, the only mass-market carmakers offering hybrid models in India are Maruti, Toyota, and Honda. Despite a limited choice of models, hybrids are gaining popularity among Indian car buyers and are outselling EVs.

Hybrid Technology: Maruti Suzuki’s Solution for Greener Driving

Maruti Suzuki’s commitment to hybrid technology reflects a strategic approach to bridging the gap between traditional ICE vehicles and the future of electric mobility. By offering significant reductions in emissions and improvements in fuel efficiency, hybrids present a viable mid-term solution for reducing environmental impact while the EV infrastructure continues to develop. As the automotive landscape evolves, hybrids are set to play a crucial role in India’s journey towards a more sustainable future.

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