Maruti Suzuki could be testing a proper Baleno Hybrid, with a strong hybrid/full-hybrid powertrain, says a new report from shifting-gears.com. The company showcased a Swift Hybrid with such a powertrain at Auto Expo 2020 in February where it is possible to switch off the engine and operate the car in electric mode.
In early 2020, Maruti Suzuki discontinued the Fiat-developed D13A diesel engine because of the new BS-VI emission norms. The company doesn’t plan to re-introduce a diesel engine in any of the sub-4 metre cars, and so, electrification could be the way to serve customers seeking higher fuel economy and more range.
A 12-volt SHVS mild-hybrid system is available in the Maruti Baleno since April 2019. As the next step, Maruti Suzuki could upgrade B-segment cars to the 48-volt SHVS mild-hybrid system in the next couple of years. Suzuki has the technology available in the Euro-spec Swift, Ignis and Vitrara and where it adds torque-fill control, torque boost and electric motor idling to the list of features.
Full-hybrid powertrains are expensive, but with AEPPL manufacturing the Lithium Ion battery in India, the cost of the more complex hybrid system would be cheaper. The 48V system or perhaps even the 100V full-hybrid powertrain of the Japan-only Swift Hybrid would help Maruti achieve stricter CO2 targets mandated by CAFE II as the company expands its lineup with bigger vehicles and SUVs.
Maruti Suzuki has in fact confirmed the launch of full-hybrid cars in India by 2022 as part of its Mission Green Million strategy of adding another million ‘green’ cars to the roads. For smaller cars like the Maruti Baleno and Maruti Swift, 48-volt mild-hybrid is as far as electrification is likely to go for the foreseeable future, whereas bigger models like the Ertiga and the upcoming SUV from the Toyota-Suzuki partnership could use full hybrid tech with EV mode.
Video Source: youtube.com/Suzuki Global
Another Japanese full-hybrid car expected in India in 2021 is the Honda City Hybrid.