Toyota confirms launch of electric car for India in 2021

by Hormazd Sorabjee, Autocar India 22 Oct 2019

Toyota Motor Corporation has reiterated its commitment to introducing battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the Indian market. Toyota's Chief Technology Officer, Shigeki Terashi, has confirmed, via Twitter, that Toyota India’s first all-electric car will be co-developed with Maruti.

“India is one of the countries we have in mind for BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) and we want to introduce them at an early stage along with Maruti,” he was quoted as saying. According to sources, this new EV, which will be co-developed with Maruti Suzuki and will share its platform and powertrain with the upcoming Wagon R-based electric hatchback, is expected to be launched in India in 2021.

Right from October 12, 2016, when Suzuki Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation first announced that they plan to start exploring ideas directed towards a business partnership, the two Japanese OEMs have been exploring ways to partner in India. In November 2017, the Japanese brands had announced a Memorandum of Understanding to arrive at a joint strategy to introduce BEVs in India in 2020. The press release had said, “Specifically, Suzuki is to produce EVs for the Indian market and will supply some to Toyota, while Toyota is to provide technical support.”

Maruti Suzuki’s Wagon R EV is expected to be launched in 2020 and will be priced quite aggressively as it will be able to avail of significant subsidies under the government’s FAME II scheme, given that it will be made in India. The all-electric Wagon R is expected to have a real-world range of about 130km on a single charge and will support standard AC and DC fast-charging.

Toyota’s version of the Wagon R EV is still sometime away and may not launch as soon as the Maruti. In fact it will only come after the launch of a BEV for the European markets. Terashi also confirmed that Toyota expects to launch its first electric car there at the start of 2020. There will be multiple variants that will be developed across the Toyota and Lexus brands, based on public demand for the models.

In March 2018, Toyota and Suzuki confirmed the models that would be cross-badged for the India market. The first Toyota product launched under the alliance between the two Japanese brands – the Glanza – comes with mild-hybrid tech. What is essentially a badge-engineered version of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno gets the same 90hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine with an integrated starter generator (ISG).

On October 24, Toyota will present the production-ready Ultra Compact BEV two-seater, which has a range of 100km on a single charge, maximum speed of 60kph and a very small turning radius.

At this year's Tokyo Motor Show, which opens on October 24, Toyota will showcase a new, production-ready Ultra Compact BEV. This two-seat vehicle is expected to go on sale in Japan in 2020, have a 100km range and reach a top speed of about 60kph. The Japanese brand has also been developing solid state battery technology and will showcase a concept powered by the tech in 2020, at the Tokyo Olympics.

Also read: Maruti Suzuki-Toshiba-Denso JV proposes Rs 4,930 crore investment for lithium-ion battery plant in Gujarat