Suzuki, Toyota tie up to make, sell electric vehicles in India by 2020

Suzuki Motor Corp and Toyota Motor Corp on Friday finalised an agreement to manufacture and sell electric vehicles in India by 2020.

The two Japanese car makers concluded the memorandum of association for making electric vehicles for the Indian market by 2020 and developing the requisite technologies.

In February this year, Toyota and Suzuki had signed an agreement to consider the prospect of working together on developing electric vehicle technology.

''Suzuki is to produce EVs for the Indian market and will supply some to Toyota, while Toyota is to provide technical support. Additionally, Toyota and Suzuki intend to conduct a comprehensive study of activities for the widespread acceptance and popular use of EVs in India,'' said a Suzuki spokesperson in a statement.

Maruti Suzuki is the biggest carmaker in the country by some distance, but its parent company Suzuki Motor Corp lacks the technology to make electric cars; hence the tie-up with Toyota, which has considerable experience in the field, makes sense.

Some of the competitors such as Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors have already started manufacturing electric vehicles. But Maruti could not even participate in the recent bidding for supplying electric vehicles to the Union government. The bid was eventually won by M&M and Tata Motors.

The move, particularly the involvement of Suzuki that sells one in every two passenger vehicles in India through Maruti, gives a boost to the government's vision of having fully electric mobility from 2030 and its 'Make in India' initiative.

Earlier this month, Toshihiro Suzuki, chief executive officer of Suzuki Motor and a director on the board of Maruti Suzuki, voiced his apprehension regarding the adverse impact the introduction of electric vehicles given Maruti's lack of technological knowhow in the field.

''As envisioned by the agreement, in addition to lithium-ion batteries, electric motors and other major components would be locally procured for the production of EVs in India, helping the Indian government fulfil its ''Make in India'' initiative, even in the field of EVs,'' noted the spokesperson of Suzuki Motor Corporation in a statement.

Toyota and Suzuki will work towards establishment of charging stations, human resources development that includes training for after-service technicians employed throughout sales networks and systems for the appropriate treatment of end-of-life batteries.

Also, in an attempt to take its first step towards manufacturing electric vehicles in India, Suzuki Motor Corp in a joint venture with Toshiba Corporation and Denso announced its plans to set up a plant in Gujarat to make lithuim-ion batteries, the most important and expensive part of an electric vehicle.

As per reports from Japanese news agency Nikkei, Suzuki may collaborate with Toyota Motor and Mazda Technologies for the electric vehicle technology.

Earlier in the month, Toyota Motor, Mazda and Denso made the announcement of a venture to develop key technology designs for batteries and motors of different type of vehicles. Toyota will own a 90 per cent stake while Denso and Mazda will own 5 per cent each in the venture.

Suzuki may also pick up Toyota's 5 per cent stake in the venture to fast-track its electric vehicle project.