Difficult to bring EV price in India under Rs 10 lakh, says Maruti Suzuki CEO

Expensive battery packs and lack of charging infrastructure are to blame for the high price.

Highlights
  • Maruti Suzuki’s new CEO Hisashi Takeuchi blamed high cost of technology 
  • Maruti Suzuki plans to launch its first EV in 2025 
  • Following its first EV in 2025, multiple EV models will follow

Maruti Suzuki’s new CEO and MD Hisashi Takeuchi has said it will be difficult to price electric vehicles under Rs 10 lakh in India. He also added Maruti plans to introduce multiple EVs in the Indian market, with the first coming in 2025 and multiple models to follow. Maruti Suzuki, which is India’s biggest auto manufacturer by market share, has not yet introduced a single electrified vehicle, a segment which is gaining momentum in India.

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“If somebody should bring an affordable EV in the market, it should be Maruti Suzuki. But EV is still very expensive…as a part of the current technology, I think it is quite difficult to make a very affordable EV, maybe not so soon,” Takeuchi said. He blamed the high price on expensive technology and battery packs, and added he does not foresee the prices reducing for the next three years at least. Lithium iron batteries account for 40 percent of the cost of the vehicle. Smaller packs mean lesser price, but that also decreases the range of the electric car.

EV charging infrastructure in India

Takeuchi said the availability of charging points at shorter distances may help bring down the price of the vehicle. “If the infrastructure is everywhere, and wherever you go, there’s always a quick charger available then maybe a very small battery in a less expensive car can be marketed and sold. But right now the environment is not that ready. I think it will take more time,” he said.

Maruti Suzuki EV will be for Indian weather conditions

Maruti’s new top boss Takeuchi acknowledged that the company is behind its competitors and has not had the first mover’s advantage that companies such as Tata Motors have enjoyed in India. However, Maruti is currently working towards developing an EV system that can be utilised on its existing model of cars specifically tailored to work in the Indian environment.

“We are the company that is taking a very conservative approach to EV technology. But we have been testing our vehicles for a long time now because it must be perfectly safe for our customers and the Indian weather condition is probably one of the toughest environments for an EV,” Takeuchi said.

The company highlighted its interest to produce EVs across most Maruti Suzuki plants in India. However, the initial production would be carried out at the Gujarat facility which will also help focus on making India a hub for exporting as well.

Suzuki Motor Corporation, the parent company of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, last month issued a new investment plant for its Gujarat plant. The new plan will see a fresh monetary inflow worth around 150 billion yen (about Rs 10,445 crore) by 2026 and will facilitate Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and EV battery production locally in the Gujarat plant.