Maruti Suzuki is all set to supply an undisclosed number of production-ready Swift hybrid hatchbacks, named Swift Range Entender, to the government as a part of its pilot project. However, the due to upcoming elections, the dates are not yet clear, a source close to the project told Autocar Professional. There would be more clarity on the project by the first quarter of the next financial year ie (financial year 2015), he said.
Maruti Suzuki had showcased this ‘green’ Swift at the Auto Expo 2014. The company will provide the government with these hybrid Swifts in financial year 2015.
He further added, “While the homologation process of the hybrid Swift is nearly completed, the team is expecting ARAI certification anytime now.
The new Swift Range Extender will run on an inline three-cylinder, 658cc petrol engine (borrowed from Suzuki, Japan). It is also equipped with a front-axle mounted 55KW electric motor, which is powered by a 5kWh lithium ion battery. According to company sources, while the production-ready model has been developed in India, all the major electric gear (such as the electric motor, battery and other components) required for this project were imported from Japan and other countries.
The Swift hybrid model is around 130kg heavier than its conventional petrol-engined counterpart currently sold in India, which weighs between 960-990kg (kerb weight). Maruti’s internal tests claim that the Swift Range Extender offers a combined fuel efficiency of up to 48.2km per litre, which includes a 25.5km run powered by the fully-charged battery. The battery, according to company data, takes nearly 90 minutes to get fully charged. While the company (along with other OEMs such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, TVS Motor Co and others) is eagerly waiting for the implementation of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020, it is known that the Department of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises has written to the Finance Ministry seeking a grant of Rs 230-300 crore to kick-start a series of pilot projects (public transportation through electric vehicles) from April 2014. Though the commercial production of the Swift hybrid hatchbacks would depend on the status of the said pilot project(s), the battery operated variants would be possibly seen on the Indian roads later this year.