Suzuki will use India as a key global manufacturing base for electric cars and has earmarked big investments for this purpose. Suzuki has announced that it will invest US$600 million in the state of Gujarat for a new plant with a capacity of 250,000 units. “For the last 35 years, we have been working towards ‘Make in India'[an initiative that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been actively promoting]” Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki said at a business leaders’ meet in Gujarat recently where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe were also present.
The Indian government is encouraging electric vehicles manufacturing in the country for domestic use and this project will also be the first commercially available electric car from the Japanese brand.
Suzuki may be late in the electric car game, but has been involved in similar projects. In 2010, Suzuki had showcased an all-electric version of its Swift hatchback called Swift REEV or Range Extender. However, this car never went beyond the drawing board.
As part of the India investment commitment, Suzuki will set up a lithium-ion battery factory that will charge electric, hybrid and other vehicles from the company’s stable. Denso, a Toyota company, will provide the technology, while Toshiba will chip in with cell modules.