Three major carmakers to launch full hybrid versions of their models in India.

In a step that can widely be hailed as a major move toward the cleaner future of the country, three major carmakers Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, and Honda Cars India will make nearly 6 of their models go the full hybrid path in the next two years or so. As far as India’s largest maker Maruti Suzuki is concerned, the brand will bring out the full-hybrid models of already mild-hybrid Ciaz sedan and the 2020 Toyota Corolla Altis that the brand will badge engineer under its name and bring out for Indian market. As far as Toyota is concerned, the Indian subsidiary of Japanese brand will go Maruti’s way with the Ciaz -- that will be badge engineered under the Japanese brand -- and the upcoming Corolla Altis. As far as the other Japanese company’s Indian subsidiary Honda India is concerned, the nest generation of Honda’s best selling City sedan will also go fully hybrid the same treatment could be given to upcoming Jazz premium hatchback and the executive sedan Civic.

Honda Cars India’s senior VP & director of sales and marketing, Rajesh Goel had this to say on the cars going hybrid route,

In between ICE engines and electric vehicles, hybrid stands as a midway option as far as pollution concerns and fuel  efficiency are concerned, and our headquarters is working on a product for the Indian market.

It must be noted that the three aforementioned carmakers are together lobbying for higher incentives for hybrid cars under the government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacture of Electric and Hybrid cars (FAME-II) subsidy scheme. Under this scheme, the subsidy and benefits for the hybrid cars are low as compared to the electric cars, however, the industry has the opinion that once the initiative for larger subsidies for hybrid cars are taken, it will be easier to move ahead. The industry feels so because it is of the opinion that hybrid cars are the next thing ahead for India. Currently, plug-in hybrids in India priced under Rs. 15 lakhs in the market can avail incentive of only Rs. 20,000. This is quite small when compared to the incentives given for electric cars.

While Honda already has the hybrid technology and sells the City with the same globally, it is waiting for the right time to go ahead with the hybrid route in the Indian market. As far as Toyota and Maruti are concerned, they have already entered a partnership for exchanging models and under this same initiative the companies will use the 1.5L K-Series petrol engine for the 2020 Toyota Corolla Altis. As the engine has been developed by Suzuki, the other partner Toyota is working on a hybrid powertrain for this engine.

Before the adoption of full electric models in the market, the hybrid cars are supposed to be the transition period cars. Since developing the charging and the required infrastructure is bound to take time, the carmakers believe that petrol/diesel engines hybrid cars can be the cleaner measure during the time the infrastructure comes up. Not to mention the stricter emission norms mean that diesel cars will get significantly pricier as the compliance for them will be difficult to achieve. This would mean that petrol hybrids would be the way to go in face of expensive diesel cars.

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