Maruti is gearing up for an expansive display at Auto Expo 2018. While the spotlight will be on the new Swift hatchback and the Concept Future S which previews a new compact SUV, the carmaker will also have plenty else of interest on its show floor. There is expected to be the usual lot of kitted up models as well as cars from Suzuki’s international line-up to gauge audience reactions. In addition, Maruti Suzuki will also have the quirky e-Survivor SUV concept on display.
First shown at the 2017 Tokyo motor show, the e-Survivor concept is a uniquely styled, small off-roader. The open-top, two-seat SUV boasts massive ground clearance and nearly non-existent overhangs suggesting superb approach, departure and ramp breakover angles. The concept’s huge wheel arches and large, knobby tyres add to the model’s off-road credentials. Based on a ladder-frame chassis, the concept is powered by four electric motors, one in each wheel, and comes with all-wheel-drive. The cabin sports a spherical display that shows the car and its immediate environs. Sensors mounted around the SUV are meant to relay this information to the screen.
Maruti Suzuki will also use Auto Expo 2018 as a platform to educate and inform showgoers about hybrid technology. For this purpose, the manufacturer will have functioning cutaways of a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. The display is meant to explain how its hybrid powertrain works, the benefits of these types of engines, especially in terms of fuel economy, and the feasibility of this technology in India.
Currently, Maruti only has mild hybrids on sale in the Indian market. Branded SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle System), the system comprises an auto start/stop function and provides a mild electric motor assist. However, the demonstration of more sophisticated hybrid systems does potentially indicate Maruti could be looking at introducing a greater level of hybridisation in its future models. Greater hybrid assist is sure to help Maruti excel when more stringent fuel efficiency regulations come into effect.
The focus on hybrids at Auto Expo comes at a time when Maruti Suzuki has been in the news for its electric vehicle plans. Maruti Suzuki was caught unawares by the Indian government’s policy to introduce all-electric mobility in the country by 2030 but has since tied up with Toshiba to set up a lithium-ion battery plant in Gujarat and has also announced a partnership with Toyota to introduce EVs in India by 2020.
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