India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki is working on improving CNG and hybrid technology in its cars to reduce emissions. The company views these technologies as the interim solution before electric vehicle becomes mainstream.
In its FY21 annual report, RC Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India said he has no doubt that the large resources that are now being deployed for technology development will lead to lowering the cost of EVs and reducing dependence on lithium, procurement of which poses some strategic issues of national importance.
“The time frame for all of this to happen is not certain, but meanwhile we do need to reduce import of oil and harmful emissions,” he said.
Bhargava believes CNG and hybrid technologies, coupled with biofuels, give the country a means of moving towards the final goal of net zero emission. The use of hydrogen too is an interesting alternative and should be considered specially to reduce dependence on importing lithium, he said. “We will also seek to improve the technology for CNG cars. Hybrid technology also leads to a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions and is another area for our engineers to work,” said Bhargava.
Reducing carbon footprint
On the product side, the company is strongly committed to reducing its carbon footprint and has been working on that consciously for many years, irrespective of regulatory requirements. As measured by the CAFÉ regulation, the company’s fleet has the least CO2 emission per vehicle among all car manufacturers in India, it said in the annual report.
For further reduction in CO2 emissions, it is adopting a mix of powertrain technologies based on electrification and CNG.
Giving a sense of the performance of its CNG portfolio, Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director, Maruti Suzuki said despite overall sales of the company declining in the domestic market by ~8%, the sales of CNG vehicles grew by nearly 50% in FY21.
“Towards electrification of the powertrain, Suzuki Motor Corporation, in a joint venture with Toshiba Corporation and Denso Corporation is setting up India’s first lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant with cell level localisation,” he added.
The carmaker is also working to make the entire life cycle of a car sustainable, including scrapping, dismantling, and recycling. It has collaborated with Toyota Tsusho Group and established a joint venture named Maruti Suzuki Toyotsu India (MSTI) for vehicle dismantling and recycling facilities in India. The MSTI facility is almost ready to be operationalised and will be announced soon.