Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports that Suzuki is taking hybrid powertrains very seriously and is working hard to put a Swift hybrid into production by 2013-14. Suzuki Swift hybrid version of the previous generation displayed at Tokyo Motor Show in 2009. The car is being developed in Japan for Japanese market as of now. The Plug-in Hybrid means that the car will be charged directly by a power outlet from domestic electricity supply.
The Swift hybrid will be rechargeable at a household socket and will sport the costly and more efficient lithium-ion battery set. It offers 30 km range and is coupled to a small MPFI petrol engine, most likely the same engine which powers the Suzuki Cervo, the displacement of which wasn’t mentioned in the report. The Swift concept car shown in Tokyo 2009 also used a 658cc gasoline engine powers the front-drive electric motor, which in turn produces 74hp of max power at the front axle to pull the car powered by Lithium Ion batteries. The power from the engine will not be used directly to drive the wheels at any point. This kind of arrangement where the engine never turns the axle directly is called as a series Hybrid.
Of course, the cost of bolting such a system onto an internal combustion engine will result in a higher cost of almost 3 Lakh Rupees which could be another reason why Suzuki is choosing to experiment with technology in the Japanese market rather than bringing it straight to the market where fuel economy is the biggest selling point, India.
While the Japanese domestic market will be the first to get the Swift Plug-In Series Hybrid, we won’t rule out India getting many Maruti Suzuki cars with this technology shoehorned onto them if it proves to be successful. After all, Maruti Suzuki even runs a series of TV commercials which show the Indian car buyer being interested in fuel economy, more than anything else.