Japanese auto major, Toyota Motor Corporation said it plans to introduce a compact battery electric vehicle (BEV) in India in association with compatriot Suzuki Motor Corporation. The two firms are looking to introduce the BEV at an early stage, Toyota said without disclosing a time frame. "India is one of the countries we have in mind for introduction (of BEV)," Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Executive Vice-President Shigeki Terashi told a group of visiting Indian reporters here. He was replying to a question on the company's plans for EVs in India considering how the eco-friendly technology has gained traction with the government pushing for it. In August this year, Toyota and Suzuki said they will acquire a stake in each other as they seek to strengthen their alliance, which was first announced in 2016.
In March this year, they had agreed to engage in joint product development and collaboration in production, in addition to promoting the mutual supply of products by bringing together Toyota's strength in electrification technologies and Suzuki's strength in technologies for a compact vehicle. As part of their earlier pact, the two partners had agreed to extend their collaboration to Europe and Africa over and above their partnership in India. Suzuki will supply Ciaz sedan and Ertiga multi-purpose vehicle to Toyota in India in addition to the already agreed supplies of premium hatchback Baleno and compact SUV Vitara Brezza, which will be rolled out from Toyota's plant in India from 2022. Moreover, Suzuki will also supply its India-produced vehicles: Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ciaz, Ertiga, to Toyota for the African market as well.
Toyota, on the other hand, will provide Suzuki with its hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technologies in India through local procurement of HEV systems, engines and batteries, while also supplying THS (Toyota Hybrid System) to Suzuki in global markets. Commenting on the significance of the partnership with Suzuki in the EV journey, Terashi said while Toyota is large in Japan it has limited presence in India and on the other hand Maruti Suzuki has large presence in India. He further said together with Suzuki Toyota is exploring opportunities and start with compact BEV in Indian market at "early stage". The Toyota official, however, did not provide more details.
At present Suzuki's Indian arm Maruti Suzuki is currently testing a fleet of 50 prototypes EVs based on WagonR model platform developed by the parent in Japan. Last year, Suzuki Motor Corporation Chairman Osamu Suzuki had said the company has decided to launch EV in India around 2020 in cooperation with Toyota Motor Corporation.