GaadiWaadi has caught the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R based electric car testing under heavy camouflage. While Maruti Suzuki has been running the Wagon R EV on Indian roads since October 2018, those are Japanese specification vehicles brought down for field testing. The pictures here show the test mule of the production vehicle to be based on the new generation Wagon R (launched in January 2019) which appeared on roads more recently.
Despite the dense camouflaged, spy shots show some design elements that are different from its petrol counterpart. The headlamps get a split design layout with projector units and will possibly include LED daytime running lights, a closed grille and bumper. The EV is seen with black alloy wheel (possibly wrapped with low rolling resistance tyres) and will also get a digital instrument cluster displaying the essential driving information. Note the cleaner undercarriage helped by the lack of an exhaust tip.
While the company was planning to launch the car in 2020, the timeline has now been pushed to 2021 citing the high cost of the Li-Ion battery and the lack of proper charging infrastructure. The EV could be previewed by a concept study ‘Maruti Suzuki Futuro-E,’ a name that MSIL trademarked last year, at the 2020 Auto Expo in Greater Noida on 5 February.
Suzuki’s battery factory in India to begin production in late 2020
Suzuki is also building a battery plant in Gujarat in a joint venture with Toshiba Corporation and Denso Corporation. Spread over 2021-25, the JV will invest Rs.5,000 crore in the plant that was announced in October 2019 and will be India’s first lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant for EVs.
With a production capacity of more than 1GWh, the plant with equity stake split between Suzuki with 50%, Toshiba 40% and Denso 10%, is targeting to locally manufacture 30 million lithium-ion cells per year by 2025. Production will start in late 2020.
The battery manufacturing plant will combine Suzuki’s expertize, Toshiba’s cell technology and Denso’s module technology. The JV to develop and manufacture lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications was announced in April 2017 and the foundation was laid down in September 2017 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.