To use India as a key global manufacturing base for selling the electric vehicle in the country and abroad, Japanese automobile majors Toyota and Suzuki have signed an in-principle agreement to consider a joint structure for the introduction of electric cars in India in 2020.
Under the agreement, Suzuki will manufacture electric cars for India and supply some units to Toyota with technical support from the latter. Interestingly, the EV segment in India, the fifth-largest car market, is the first area where the two companies have decided to work together after the global agreement in February.
In September, it was reported that Suzuki Motor plans to make electric cars at its factory in Gujarat. Apart from EVs, the company will also set up a lithium-ion battery factory that will charge electric, hybrid and other vehicles from fixed kiosks. While Denso will provide technology for setting-up lithium-ion battery factory, Toshiba will power cell modules.
Collectively, Suzuki, Denso and Toshiba will invest about $180 million for the plant, which is expected to be functional by 2020. The manufacturing unit will power Maruti and Suzuki’s electric vehicles fleet comprising of existing petrol and diesel models as well as new EVs.
“The MoU concluded is part of the overall agreement being firmed up between Suzuki and Toyota. Since this (India’s EV push with a 2030 deadline) was a more urgent issue, it has been addressed first,” said Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava, reported ET.
“It will surely prove beneficial for all involved. We have to make sure that not only the cost but the performance of the vehicle is such that it meets customer expectations,” he added.
Suzuki also plans to procure electric motors and other major components from Indian companies in a boost to the government’s Make in India initiative, the company statement said.
In addition, Toyota and Suzuki plan to incentivize the acceptance of electric vehicles in India by conducting studies on car charging stations, training of technicians, and systems for the disposal of electric car batteries.
Earlier, Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari warned automakers in the country to move to vehicles that run on electricity, biodiesel, ethanol and compressed natural gas, keeping the Central Government goal, to get rid of petrol and diesel vehicles from Indian roads by 2030, in mind.
In a recent boost to the e-vehicle sector, Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) floated its second tender for procuring 10,000 electric cars for the government-run entity.