Let's all agree that switching to electric cars overnight isn’t going to be easy. There has to be an intermediate solution that reduces our dependency on fossil fuels while preparing us for the impending electric future. Maruti Suzuki believes it's got the right tool for the job in the form of their HEV technology.

HEV stands for Hybrid Electric Vehicle, and it is exactly what the name suggests. Like the SHVS system used on Marutis in India, Suzuki too uses a similar mild-hybrid system in Japan, however the HEV system is a strong hybrid system capable of powering the cars on electric power alone. As you'd expect, a hybrid-electric vehicle relies on two power sources (fuel + electricity) to run. Suzuki's HEV tech comprises of three units - the engine, an integrated starter generator (ISG) and crucially a motor generator unit (MGU). The one on display at the Auto Expo features Suzuki's global 1.2-litre Dualjet motor paired with a 10kW motor generator. This setup already does duty under the hood of the Suzuki Solio (think of it as Japan's WagonR) and the Suzuki Swift in Japan.

Spec Cehck

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Petrol Engine

  • 1.2-litre, K12C Dualjet
  • Power: 91PS @ 6000rpm
  • Torque: 118Nm @ 4400rpm

Motor Generator Unit (MGU)

  • Power: 10kW (13.6PS) @ 3185-8000rpm
  • Torque: 30Nm @ 1000-3185rpm
  • Suzuki Solio

Under low or steady load, the system switches to pure electric power. The batteries supply power to the electric motor that in-turn drives the front wheels through an AMT gearbox. On pure electric mode, the Solio hatchback can run for 2 kilometres. Suzuki also says that the hatchback can drive in pure EV mode at 40kmph for 3 minutes.

Once the batteries run out of juice, the system switches over to good-ol' gasoline. In the meantime, the system will focus on refeeding the batteries while you coast by using regenerative braking. Also, when you decide to give it the beans, the electric motor assists the petrol engine, thereby giving you some more power (and torque) to play with. In terms of price, the Solio with the HEV system is about Rs 40,000 more than the mild-hybrid equipped version.

Image Credit: zigwheels.com

Now, this technology isn't entirely new to our country. Until now, it has been limited to expensive sedans such as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. But, for this tech to find a place under the bonnets of everyday hatchbacks and become accessible to mass-market car buyers is truly a sign of change.

What’s the benefit of having such a setup? A drop in emissions and an increase in fuel-efficiency for a start. Not bad, eh? What's more, Maruti Suzuki has confirmed that it will be looking at working on developing a range of hybrid-electric vehicles for India. Hopefully, with the introduction of all kinds of electric vehicles, we believe the country has the right formula for creating a cleaner and greener future.

Credit: Zigwheels.com