The electric version of the Maruti Wagon R is expected to launch early next year and might be exclusively retailed to fleet operators, at least initially.
Maruti Suzuki has been vigorously testing the Wagon R EV for a few years now. The car has been spotted multiple times during road tests on the streets of Gurugram. Previously, the company had stated that it won’t be introducing any electric vehicles in India until there is a sustainable ecosystem for such cars. Now, it seems like the company is planning to launch the Wagon R EV sometime next year.
R.C Bhargava, Chairman of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, had previously stated that there is no reason for the company to launch an EV for personal use as there will be no benefits to the customers for buying one. At the moment, electric vehicles are more expensive and impractical as compared to traditional petrol- and diesel-powered cars. As such, if the company decides to launch the upcoming electric Wagon R, there wouldn’t be any significant demand for it, and hence it would have extremely poor sales.
"If somebody is going to buy this car without any infrastructure in the country and at a pretty high price because there is no support of any kind, I can launch but what is the purpose? The companies can be preparex, the government can provide incentives on electric vehicles, however, the question is whether the customer is ready or not. So, I don't think Covid-19 is an issue to electric mobility. The question, however, remains is whether the customer wants to buy them or not. The electric WagonR will be accepted in fleet services."
Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Limited
While personal mobility might not be a practical aspect of EV ownership, commercial mobility is a much better option. There are plenty of companies in major cities like New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Hyderabad, etc., that are operating fleets of EVs. Due to the lack of proper electric charging stations throughout the country, owners of EVs have to get one installed at home or use the regular power outlets (which is much less efficient).
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As fleet operators are usually self-dependent, charging an EV is not a major problem for them. Also, electric cars are much cheaper to operate than traditional cars, and the savings benefits due to multiple EVs adding up the profits to substantial numbers. Thus, the company might launch the electric Wagon R for fleet operators only, at least initially. Maruti Wagon R EV won’t be the first electric car to be available exclusively to fleet operators. Mahindra e-Verito and Tata Tigor EV are both examples of such cars.