Business Standard

Maruti bets on strong hybrids to drive growth in green vehicles


Maruti Suzuki, the largest car manufactur­er in the country, will be betting on strong hybrids for growth in the green vehicles’ segment.

The company anticipate­s that 25 per cent of its sales will come from strong hybrids in the foreseeabl­e future.

“The total industry volume is expected to reach 6 million units by financial year 2030-31. From this, 3 million units will come from Maruti Suzuki. And, we expect 15 per cent of our sales to consist of electric vehicles (EVS) and 25 per cent from strong hybrids,” said Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer of marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki.

This shift towards strong hybrids is notable given recent market trends. In 2022, hybrid cars held a mere 0.5 per cent market share, but by 2023, this figure surged to 2 per cent. In contrast, EVS experience­d growth from 1.3 per cent market share in 2022 to 2.2 per cent in 2023. The rapid increase in market share for hybrid cars suggests a growing preference among consumers, outpacing the growth rate of EVS. Maruti Suzuki has establishe­d itself as a leader in the hybrid vehicle market with the introducti­on of six mild hybrid models, labeled as 'smart hybrid cars'— including the Ertiga, Brezza, Ciaz, XL6, Grand Vitara, and the Fronx. But it's the 'strong hybrid' segment that is poised for significan­t growth in the future.

The firm has sold 24,047 strong hybrid models to date, with 16,268 units sold in 2023 alone. It offers the most extensive range of strong hybrids, which includes models like the Grand Vitara and Invicto, termed as 'intelligen­t electric hybrid cars.'

However, currently the domestic automotive market is dominated by mild hybrid cars in the hybrid category.

According to Vahan data, approximat­ely 760,000 hybrid vehicles have been sold since 2020, in contrast to 130,000 electric cars.

A mild hybrid vehicle is equipped with a compact 48volt battery and an electric motor that enhances the performanc­e of the internal combustion engine (ICE). The vehicle primarily operates using the ICE, with additional support from the battery, resulting in improved overall efficiency. In contrast, strong hybrids operate with two power sources: ICE and electric motors, typically with a capacity of 1 kilowatt hour. The ICE powers the vehicle and simultaneo­usly recharges the battery. When the battery is sufficient­ly charged, the electric motor propels the car for a limited distance before the engine resumes control, and this cycle repeats.

While government policies have historical­ly favoured pure EVS, the landscape is evolving with the establishm­ent of a new panel to assess whether strong hybrid cars merit similar policy backing through reduced taxation. This shift, experts suggest, is a potential win-win scenario for customers. It will create a levelplayi­ng field for both strong hybrids and EVS.

Industry experts believe that while mild hybrids have their place, it’s the strong hybrids that truly serve the purpose of environmen­tally friendly vehicles. They emphasis et hat original equipment manufactur­ers should prioritise increasing sales of strong hybrids.

“Strong hybrids will play a crucial role in the interim. Any support from the government will be a win-win situation for the country,” said Preetesh Singh, specialist CASE and alternate powertrain­s, NRI Consulting & Solutions.

Achieving the projected decline in petrol’s market share from 80 per cent in FY23 to just 10 per cent by 2040 will require alignment between government policies and industry perspectiv­es, Singh added.

 ?? ?? Hybrid cars accounted for 0.5% market share in 2022, but it surged to 2% by 2023
Hybrid cars accounted for 0.5% market share in 2022, but it surged to 2% by 2023

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