Suzuki Motorcycle India has developed a prototype electric scooter which it will start testing it in the country by 2020.
Despite wide expectations from the government to swiftly set up the charging infrastructure, the company will not wait for the ecosystem to be completed before starting work on their electric two-wheeler, a top Suzuki official told Moneycontrol.
The country’s fifth-largest two-wheeler manufacturer will work closely with sister concern Maruti Suzuki to tap into the car market leader's wide distribution network.
"We are developing an electric scooter for India and next year we will start test running it in India. We are continuously studying the electric vehicle (EV) market and we have developed a prototype. We gather as much information on the EV market as possible," Satoshi Uchida, managing officer and deputy executive general manager in charge of marketing and India, Motorcycle Company, Suzuki Motor Corporation said.
Not only will Suzuki Motorcycles use Suzuki-Toyota’s EV technology it will also make use of the large base of touchpoints which will supposedly become charging points.
"We can work and coordinate with Maruti Suzuki using the same technology and try to utilise their network as well. Maruti has a large network and that is a huge advantage. So many touchpoints and so many charging points," Uchida added.
Suzuki and Toyota are working together on small electric cars for India; first of which will make its way to showrooms in 2020. Besides Suzuki is setting up a lithium-ion battery pack factory in India that will be used for these electric cars. The EV technology and batteries can be shared with Suzuki Motorcycles.
The electric two-wheeler industry got a major revival when Bajaj Auto showcased the electric Chetak a few weeks back. The company has promised its commercial launch in January 2020.
But Uchida believes that it will be a while before electric two-wheelers are accepted by customers given issues like high initial cost, lack of charging infrastructure and drive range issues which many buyers term it as impractical.
"We do not think EVs will be successful immediately. We will have to monitor the situation and understand the bottleneck. So our understanding is that the first generation EVs will not succeed but by the third generation it should be a success," he noted.