Suzuki and Toyota have entered an agreement to work on bringing electric cars to India. Suzuki will use its production facilities to make its own electric cars as well as those with a Toyota badge while the technical support will come from Toyota. A recent release by the two automakers says, “Suzuki is to produce EVs for the Indian market and will supply some to Toyota, while Toyota is to provide technical support.” This joint venture is expected to bear fruit around the beginning of the next decade.
Shortly after making the announcement, Toyota also signed a MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government to offer small electric vehicles and Prius Prime for its new capital. The first leg of the AP government’s ambitious plan to turn Amaravathi into a smart city is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Introduction of small electric car by Toyota-Suzuki and the deal with the AP government a mere coincidence?
Toyota and Suzuki have promised to introduce the first electric vehicle in India around 2020. That makes the small Toyota electric car the most likely candidate to be the first one to come out of the Suzuki-Toyota alliance. Toyota will also be delivering the Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid) to the AP government for its smart city project. The Prius Prime is expected to be a CBU (completely built-up unit) like the Prius, and is already available for sale overseas.
Why can’t Toyota import a small EV then?
Because Toyota doesn’t have one! While Toyota is one of the top-selling carmakers when it comes to alternate energy vehicles, the carmaker is yet to launch an all-electric car. This very fact makes us more confident that the small car that the Japanese carmaker is set to deliver to the AP government would be made in India by Suzuki.
Presently, Toyota offers the Prius hybrid and Camry hybrid in India, both of which took a hit when the government rolled out the GST tax reform which led to a substantial increase in their ex-showroom prices.