Maruti Suzuki and Toyota’s electric SUV will use advanced electric skateboard and battery technology

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As rivals convert ICE cars to electric vehicles, Maruti and Toyota are working on an electric vehicle platform that will use state-of-the-art batteries and offer better cabin space.

Maruti Suzuki and Toyota are working on an electric midsize SUV which is expected to be introduced in January 2025. Aimed at India as well as other global markets, the electric vehicle will be based on a state-of-the-art born electric platform co-developed by a consortium of seven Japanese automobile manufacturers and suppliers. The electric skateboard (code name: 40PL) is capable of generating vehicles in multiple segments with different body styles for domestic and international markets. The combined worldwide volumes of all 40PL-based products will result in significant economies of scale that should significantly reduce project costs, which, no doubt, both Maruti-Suzuki and Toyota will take advantage to gain the advantage over the competition in the Indian market.

  • Maruti and Toyota India’s first electric vehicle to be an electric midsize SUV
  • The EV SUV will be based on the 27PL platform (a derivative of the 40PL skateboard)
  • Target is to produce 1,25,000 electric vehicles for Maruti and Toyota at former factory in Gujarat

Read also : Maruti Suzuki WagonR EV discontinued

Suzuki’s partnership with Toyota

Maruti Suzuki, no doubt, has lost valuable ground on electric vehicles, but can take comfort in the fact that it is still too early to call a winner in what is not a sprint, but a marathon that requires a lot of stamina. But neither Maruti Suzuki nor its parent company Suzuki has that stamina, the ability to spend eye-watering sums on cutting-edge electric vehicle technology and, at the same time, continue to invest in internal combustion engine designs ( IC) that yield profits. to finance their future.

That’s why even a fiercely independent Suzuki has had no choice but to follow a global trend of automaker partnerships to share cost and risk in the most disruptive and uncertain time in Suzuki’s history. industry. It is for this very reason that Suzuki entered into a partnership with Toyota five years ago. This alliance deepened after Suzuki hitched a ride on Toyota’s EV wagon.

EV CA Spirit Co – a Japanese electric vehicle consortium

After years of resistance to electric vehicles in favor of hybrids, Toyota has finally entered the EV race. But Toyota wants to manufacture electric vehicles right, which means developing a dedicated, cutting-edge platform optimized to generate world-class electric cars for global markets around the world, including India.

In 2017, Toyota, Mazda and parts supplier Denso have created a new EV CA (Common Architecture) Spirit Co for the joint development of electric cars. In 2018, Daihatsu, Subaru, Suzuki, and Hino joined EV CA, making it one of the biggest electric vehicle collaborations among manufacturers, in which Toyota owns the majority of shares and exercises maximum control.

True to its name, the fundamental goal of EV Common Architecture Spirit Co is to jointly develop a common and dedicated EV platform or skateboard and a bin of EV component parts that will be shared by all companies in this coalition. And to achieve this, the individual strengths of each member automaker are utilized.

Denso, for example, provides expertise in electronics and Mazda provides assistance in product planning and computer modelling. Subaru is taking the lead in developing some mid-size vehicles and lending its 4×4 expertise while compact cars have gone to Suzuki and Daihatsu (more on that later).

Toyota-Suzuki Coalition 40PL Electric Skateboard

EV CA has already completed the development of a bespoke, highly flexible skateboard that can support a wide range of vehicles, from compact cars to large SUVs and even light trucks. The new 40PL platform is for the EV CA group of companies what SEM platform belongs to the Volkswagen group.

The versatility of the 40PL platform comes from the fact that it can accommodate many types of vehicle bodies, since elements such as wheelbase, overhangs and number of batteries can be changed. The only elements that cannot be changed are the positions of the front and rear electric motors, the layout under the hood, the position of the driver in relation to the front wheels and the width of the battery.

The Subaru Solterra, the Lexus RZ and the Toyota BZ4X are the first products to be seen on the new 40PL architecture. Each brand gave the 40PL its own name for marketing purposes. Subaru calls it eSGP and Toyota calls it e-TNGA.

This large alliance of Japanese automakers has huge ramifications for Maruti Suzuki, as parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) has been given the responsibility of developing a family of small electric vehicles (codenamed 27PL) on the platform. – mother form 40PL. This includes SUVs and minivans, which will be manufactured at Suzuki’s Gujarat plant for global markets like Europe, Japan and, of course, India.

However, the 27PL vehicle series is not exactly small. As we exclusively reported, the platform will underpin Maruti Suzuki’s first electric vehicle (code name: YY8) which will be even bigger than the Hyundai Crete. Toyota will also launch its own equivalent of the all-electric model.

Maruti Suzuki, Toyota electric midsize SUV: launch schedule, volume targets

Notably, the YY8 and its sister model will be global products, and exports will be a major consideration for Suzuki and Toyota. As such, the models are expected to make their global debut in Europe around October 2024, before launching in India, followed by Japan in the first half of 2025.

An annual production volume of around 125,000 cars for Maruti Suzuki and Toyota is planned, including 60,000 for the Indian market, 40,000 for Europe and around 25,000 for Japan.

Maruti Suzuki and Toyota’s mid-size electric SUV will use locally sourced batteries

The volumes targeted by the Japanese manufacturers will allow the 27PL project to achieve great economies of scale and will justify a high level of localization, key to making the electric car affordable in India. The YY8 and all its derivatives will no doubt have a high level of local content, including battery, which will come from TDSG, a large-scale battery manufacturing joint venture between Suzuki Motor Corp., Denso Corp. and Toshiba Corp.., established in Gujarat to locally manufacture lithium-ion battery packs.

Locally sourcing the battery, which is singularly the most expensive component of an EV, will undoubtedly give a big cost advantage over competing manufacturers who, at best, locally assemble imported batteries. However, there are no immediate plans for manufacturing lithium-ion cells, which will come from BYD, one of the world’s leading battery makers in China.

Notably, TDSG will use the “Blade Battery” cells unveiled by BYD in early 2020. The Chinese EV major says Blade cells are “ultra-safe” and cheaper because they go directly from the cell to the pack level, without the need modules, which also facilitates packaging. This should make BYD batteries better suited to Indian conditions, giving the Maruti-Toyota combination a head start in the EV race.

What do you think of the fact that Maruti Suzuki and Toyota are working on a new electric vehicle instead of converting a combustion engine vehicle? Let us know in the comments below.

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