Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India aims to be self-reliant in the energy sector in the next 25 years and electric vehicle, which is leading a "silent revolution", has a key role to play in achieving it.
With a major part of energy consumption being in the transport sector, the prime minister said innovation in this sector should be a priority. "It is our goal that India becomes Aatmnirbhar for its energy needs in the next 25 years of Amrit Kaal," Modi said while addressing a programme held to mark 40 years of Suzuki Motor Corporation in India at the Mahatma Mandir convention centre here.
He further said, "As a major part of energy consumption is in the transport sector, innovation and (research) efforts in this sector should be our priority. I am confident we will be able to achieve this."
Modi, who also laid the foundation stone of Suzuki Motor Gujarat's new EV battery plant and Maruti Suzuki's new plant at Sonipat, in Haryana, stressed on the importance of promoting EVs in the country.
One of the great features of EVs, is that they are silent, be it two-wheeler or four-wheeler, they don't make any noise, he said.
This silence is not only about its engineering, but it is also the beginning of a silent revolution in the country," Modi said, adding the EV market in India at present is growing at such a rapid pace which could not have been imagined a few years back.
The prime minister said various incentives such as rebates in income tax and a simplified loan process have been provided to EV buyers as part of the government's efforts to strengthen the EV ecosystem.
To boost the supply, work is also being carried out at a fast pace to introduce PLI schemes in automobile and automobile components manufacturing," Modi said.
Besides, he said a lot of policy decisions have been taken to prepare a robust EV charging infrastructure. It is a certainty that with the strengthening of supply, demand and ecosystem, the EV sector is going to progress, he added.
Modi said the success of Maruti Suzuki also signified the strong India-Japan partnership. "In the last eight years, these relations between our two countries have reached new heights. Today, from the bullet train in Gujarat-Maharashtra to the Rudraksh centre in Banaras in UP, many development projects are examples of India-Japan friendship, he added.
Modi further said former prime minister of Japan late Shinzo Abe worked to bring the two countries closer and the present PM (Fumio) Kishida is working further for it.
In a video message, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the growth of Maruti Suzuki over the course of four decades embodied the robust economic ties between India and Japan.
In his address at the gathering, Suzuki Motor Corporation President Toshihiro Suzuki announced the setting up of a new company, Suzuki R&D Center India, a wholly-owned arm of Suzuki Japan.
"We aim to strengthen our R&D competitiveness and capabilities in new fields of technologies not only for India but also for the global markets," Suzuki said, adding over the last 40 years India has become the group's most market.
In the last fiscal, he said Suzuki group produced about 28 lakh automobiles all over the world. "Out of those, more than 16 lakh units, or about 60 per cent, were produced in India," he said, adding exports from India reached a record of about 2.4 lakh units last year.
Today, India plays a significant role as a global automobile production hub in Suzuki Group, he added. In March this year, Suzuki Motor Corporation announced plans to invest around 150 billion yen (about Rs 10,440 crore) by 2026, for local manufacturing of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and BEV batteries in Gujarat.
The company had signed an MoU with the state government under which the company's wholly-owned arm Suzuki Motor Gujarat Pvt Ltd (SMG) will invest Rs 7,300 crore for the construction of a plant for BEV batteries on a land neighbouring to SMG's existing plant by 2026.
Also, SMG will invest another Rs 3,100 crore for increasing production capacity for BEV manufacturing by 2025.
In May this year, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) announced an investment of Rs 11,000 crore in the first phase of a new facility to be set up at Sonipat in Haryana. The new plant's first phase with a manufacturing capacity of 2.5 lakh units per annum is expected to be commissioned by 2025.
At present, MSI has a cumulative production capacity of around 22 lakh units per annum across its two manufacturing plants in Haryana and parent Suzuki Motor's facility in Gujarat. The two plants in Haryana -- Gurgaon and Manesar -- together roll out around 15.5 lakh units per annum.Its parent Suzuki Motor Corp has also set up a facility in Gujarat with an installed production capacity of 7.5 lakh units per year after the third unit started production in April last year.