India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India’s (MSIL) chairman RC Bhargava told the firm’s shareholders that the company is committed to reducing oil consumption and achieving cleaner environmental standards, towards which it is betting big on green technologies, including CNG and hybrid cars.
In MSIL’s annual report for FY19, Bhargava said in that all these technologies should be encouraged in order to cut oil imports and reduce air pollution. “We had started in this direction many years ago with the introduction of factory-fitted CNG vehicles. The production of such cars increased by 40 per cent in 2018-19 and this year is targeted to increase by near 50 per cent,” he said.
The government, he noted, has also announced a large programme to increase CNG outlets and this should result in the steady increase in CNG vehicle sales.And while he said MSIL is working on electric vehicles with the support of Toyota, “the challenges for electric vehicles in India, arising mainly from battery technology, and infrastructure limitations are likely to result in electric vehicle acceptance by customers being slow in the short term,” he added. Meanwhile, the objective of reducing oil consumption and pollution would be met by CNG vehicles, hybrid cars and the increasing use of biofuels, Bhargava said.
Since India is a fast-growing market for cars unlike most parts of the world, there was a need for using all these technologies, he concluded. Other company officials also took a similar tone.MSIL managing director and chief executive officer Kenichi Ayukawa said that oil imports were a major challenge for India and that it needs to pursue technologies to minimise the use of oil in automobiles.
“Different vehicle segments will have different solutions over different time perspectives. Electrification is being pursued with full effort. However, till the time charging infrastructure spreads sufficiently to give confidence to consumers and battery technology becomes competitive to liquid fuels, we will need some strong measures to reduce oil consumption and imports,” he said.
CNG vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles can help reduce oil consumption significantly as compared to internal combustion engine-powered vehicles, Ayukawa said. “In this context, the business partnership between Suzuki Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation will help the company gain access to the technologies which are important to keep the company future ready,” Ayukawa concluded.
- 40 per cent rise in MSIL’s CNG vehicle output in FY19
- 50 per cent FY20 growth target for CNG unit output
CNG vehicles can reduce oil demand
While there are challenges in EV adoption, mainly from battery technology, MSIL believes that the objective of reducing oil consumption and pollution would be met by CNG and hybrid cars