We all knew that Toyota will be lending a helping hand to Maruti Suzuki in development of hybrid and electric cars for the Indian market. Both brands have joined hands and are already selling badge engineered cars in India, namely the Toyota Glanza which is nothing buy a Maruti Suzuki Baleno. Now, the chief technology officer for Toyota, Shigeki Terashi, has mentioned on Twitter that they will launch their all-electric car for our market which will jointly be developed with Maruti Suzuki.
It is to be noted, that Maruti Suzuki has already started working on their EV based on the WagonR, and the same has been spotted on test at multiple locations across India. The same WagonR platform might be used by Toyota to introduce their first BEV (battery electric vehicle). Both Toyota and Maurti Suzuki are planning to launch BEVs in India by 2020-21. The MOU that both brands had signed earlier clearly stated that electric vehicles will be developed for the Indian market with technical support from Toyota.
The WagonR EV which we have seen so far looked quite interesting. A spacious, practical and good looking hatchback will surely excite customers. Even the interiors of the WagonR BEV looked much better, and this should also turn some heads. With fast charging and normal AC charging, the Wagon BEV will also benefit fromt he FAME II subsidies in India. Making use of the same electric and drivetrain components, the Toyota BEV will also be a small city car, but we expect it to look different. Toyota will first launch this electric car in the markets abroad and then bring it to India. So meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki will dipstick the segment with their WagonR EV.
Toyota has so far introduced the Prius and Camry as hybrid cars in India. Both models have been relatively successful and offered very realistic transition from internal combustion engines to the future which is all-electric. We still think that India needs to accept more hybrid cars before moving to all-electric.