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Maruti Suzuki EV by 2025, new Baleno launched

Wednesday, 23 February 2022 (21:04 IST)
New Delhi: Car market leader Maruti Suzuki sees high cost of batteries and insufficient charging infrastructure in the country among key barriers in adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

"Current battery technology does not make it possible to have cost of acquisition low and that is also one of the big barriers for adoption of EVs in India. Second is the charging infrastructure. ..(it) is also not so much well-developed. We see a lot of optics but we have to also see customer convenience," said Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director (Marketing and Sales), Maruti Suzuki.

The company, however, plans to launch its electric vehicle before 2025 as announced earlier. Speaking to UNI, Srivastava said that there is consensus in the industry that going forward EVs will become mainstream but it is not known when it is going to happen.

"There is consensus in the industry that going forward EVs will become mainstream..... that there will be a point of inflection when it will grow big. The consensus which is not there is when it is going to happen. So, a lot of people in the industry say it will be about 10 per cent by 2028-29. But if you do a quick calculation that means the ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles will be about 63 million out of 70 million which will be produced till 2030 which is pretty large and that's why we do believe that manufacturers have to do something about those ICE vehicles in terms of environment-friendliness and fuel efficiency," he said.

He noted that sales of electric vehicles have been on the rise globally but it is still about 1 or 2 per cent (of total vehicle sales). "In India it is less than 0.3 per cent. It is growing, of course," he added while speaking on the sidelines of new Baleno launch.

Maruti Suzuki on Wednesday launched facelift version of its one of the top selling hatchbacks Baleno priced between Rs 6.35 lakh and Rs 9.49 lakh (ex-showroom).

The New Age Baleno is tech-loaded and flaunts head-up display and 360 view camera among other features which company claims to be the segment-first. While launching the new car, Maruti Suzuki MD Kenichi Ayukawa said that New Age Baleno is a full model change.

"We along with our vendor partners have invested about Rs 1,150 crore towards this new model development," he said.

The new Baleno scores high on safety as it is equipped with over 20 safety features like 6 airbags, electronic stability program (ESP) with hill hold assist, ABS with EBD and high speed alert system.

“Baleno is amongst the top five best-selling cars in the industry since launch. Over 1 million delighted Baleno customers in India and across 100 plus countries of the world have appreciated it for design and performance. The New Age Baleno is our new approach towards the future. With focus on technology and innovation, the New Age Baleno is set to re-energise the premium hatchback segment with several first-in- segment features," Ayukawa said.

The company already has nearly 25,000 bookings for the new car and has started delivery starting today. With chip shortage issue easing over the past few months, the company is expected to deliver cars to customers without much waiting time.

As production of cars was affected due to supply related issues, waiting time for most of its models saw long queue. The situation is though getting better by the day as normalcy returns after pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions.

As semiconductor shortage persisted for more time than expected, it significantly affected production. The situation has substantially improved since September last year.

"It is easing now. So, if you look at September we were doing 40 per cent of our production, October was 60 per cent, November was 83 per cent, December was 90 per cent, January was 92-93 per cent. As you can see, progressively it is getting better," Shashank Srivastava said. (UNI)

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