Electric vehicles will be made based on customer survey: Maruti

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

File photo of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd Chairman, RC Bhargava.   -  PTI

The survey should start within next two-three weeks, RC Bhargava said.

While there is a lot of debate around zero emissions, making India free from fossil fuel dependent vehicles and making country’s all fleet run on electric cars by 2030, Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) on Thursday said, ultimately the electric vehicle that any company makes should be affordable and meet customer requirements.

“That is why a lot of things have to be done. Anybody knows that what kind of infrastructure will be required and what will happen to people who don’t have a charging point at their homes,” RC Bhargava, Chairman, MSIL said in a freewheeling chat here.

Speaking to media, he said that affordability of the cars has to be looked at and making electric vehicles affordable is a big question right now. “We (the industry) have 75 per cent of small cars out of the total passenger car market, and if we have to make them affordable (electric vehicle), that is a tough job,” Bhargava said.

That is why, he said, MSIL will be conducting a survey over the next few weeks, to see at ground level, what customers think of EVs and what they want from such vehicles. “So far, nobody has come out with any such survey. We want to find out what consumers think. Way back, Maruti was the only PSU to do such survey and Maruti 800 (first car by the company in India) was based on consumer survey,” he said adding that similarly, based on the reliable data from consumers, the company would see what can be done for the Indian consumers on EV. The survey should start within next two-three weeks and by end of February, the company will have a strong basis, he said.

Accepting that the company does not have any technology around EVs right now, Bhargava also said that the joint venture between Suzuki Corporation Japan and Toyota is dealing with the future products. But, he ensured that the electric vehicles will be made in India, and also sold and serviced here. “The joint venture will start with the framework. Where would manufacture of the cars take place (which plant) are not decided yet. A lot of details have to be worked out right now,” Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MSIL, said. He said the only thing that the company is aware of right now is that, Suzuki (Japan) is doing cell manufacturing in its plant in Gujarat.

Meanwhile, Bhargava also said that to make four-million electric cars a year (with the current level of the industry), there needs a lot of battery cells and as of now that does not look feasible in India. And, if the companies have to import those batteries or battery cells, the whole idea of ‘Make in India’ will become a vain. “It has to be done in India and the government has to look at it whether in terms of incentives or subsidies. Oil in any case is depleting and one has to look at the alternatives,” Bhargava added.

Published on December 21, 2017

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