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The WagonR EV from Maruti Suzuki has been Discontinued

Maruti was expected to have a first mover advantage, with WagonR EV prototypes in the field since 2018. It is now, however, going in a different direction. The following are the reasons.

Maruti Suzuki’s WagonR EV was supposed to be the company’s first battery-electric vehicle for the Indian market. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the MOVE Mobility summit in September 2018, where the company displayed a prototype of the WagonR EV. With prototype road testing starting just a month later, one might expect Maruti to get a head start in the electric vehicle race. The model hasn’t been seen on the market since then.

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  • WagonR EV would have costed around Rs 10 lakh
  • Maruti was skeptical about the sales volume
  • Automaker will, instead, make EVs that can justify the premium over petrol, diesel cars

We can now confirm that plans for an electric version of the WagonR have been shelved by the automaker. What caused Maruti to put the project on hold, though? We investigate further.

The WagonR EV from Maruti Suzuki has been Discontinued
The WagonR EV from Maruti Suzuki has been Discontinued

Initial Concepts for Maruti Suzuki WagonR EV

At the 2018 MOVE Mobility Summit, Osamu Suzuki, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Suzuki Motor Corporation, announced that the company would launch an electric vehicle in 2020 alongside Toyota.

Maruti Suzuki produced 50 WagonR EV prototypes at its Gurgaon plant in accordance with the announcement. The model was said to have fast charging capabilities as well as a range of 130 kilometres in real-world conditions.

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Furthermore, even as late as 2020, the battery-electric WagonR was spotted road testing in camouflaged form with a close-to-production body shell.

Waning Interest in The Maruti Suzuki WagonR EV

By now, the all-electric WagonR should have arrived in dealerships. Maruti’s interest in the project waned, despite its initial efforts.

The WagonR EV from Maruti Suzuki has been Discontinued
The WagonR EV from Maruti Suzuki has been Discontinued

The truth is that there was no business case for a battery-powered WagonR, which would have had to be priced around 60% higher than a gasoline-powered equivalent to be profitable. A WagonR EV costing more than Rs 10 lakh was clearly out of the question. Even the company was concerned about sales volumes, and it announced last year that its first electric car would be released in 2025 instead.

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It turns out that Maruti Suzuki decided against a quick and easy conversion of an IC (internal combustion) engine car to an EV, a strategy that has proven to be successful for Tata Motors with their Nexon and Tigor EVs. It’s also because, unlike Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki has entered into a partnership with Toyota, which has taken the lead in the development of electric vehicles. Toyota, unlike Maruti, is moving forward with all-new electric vehicles from the ground up.

As a result, Maruti Suzuki is planning to release an electric midsize SUV based on a bespoke EV platform that will be larger than the Creta. Ironically, the low-cost automaker appears to have shifted its focus away from the low-cost EV segment.

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