It's been a trying period for the automotive industry because of the coronavirus pandemic, but this break from manufacturing has also let many manufacturers go back to the drawing board and chart out their path for the coming years. Toyota Kirloskar Motors too is one among them. The Innova Crysta and the Fortuner have been the company's front runners for sales in the Indian market and now with the Vellfire, the company is looking to add its bit to the luxury MPV segment as well. But what about the company's future plans? In an exclusive interview with carandbike, Vikram Kirloskar, Vice Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said that the company's focus will be on hybrid cars. He said, "You'll see the hybrid cars come way down the line, closer to 2022. By 2025, I don't know how much of our portfolio might be non-hybrid and going towards smaller vehicles."
The company recently launched the Vellfire MPV in India which also comes with mild hybrid technology
On asked whether, the development will be restricted to hybrids only or will we see electric vehicles too, Kirloaskar said, "The Toyota hybrid architecture is common with the full hybrid or the plug-in hybrid, which has a bigger battery or a hydrogen vehicle where the engine is replaced by fuel cell or a pure EV. The components are exactly the same. We are looking at serving a market based on the power or the energy availability. We still feel that India still has 60-70% coal fired plants and hybrids are far cleaner than EVs and the numbers show that."
There is a clear direction in which Toyota is going and this can be seen in its investment of a battery plant in the country as well. This is evident in its decision to form a joint venture with Suzuki. TMC's main role in the Indian market will be to share hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) technologies with Maruti Suzuki where the HEV systems, engines and batteries will be locally procured through the Suzuki-Toyota-Denso plant which is coming up in Gujarat. In Europe, Toyota will supply two electrified vehicles to Suzuki which will be spawned by RAV and Corolla platforms. Moreover, Toyota will also supply Hybrid Systems to Suzuki which will be used across its portfolio globally. Now we know we've told you all this last year, but on a global front, which fuel will be in demand according to Toyota?
Kirloskar has an answer to that, "Toyota thinks that globally, hydrogen will be the way to go. There are many new ways coming out to produce hydrogen, cost of producing hydrogen is coming down, there's a lot of hydrogen available in the world and also in the country. There are technical issues on compressing hydrogen, cost of the fuel cell, certain materials in the fuel cell that are expensive. New materials are getting substituted and lot of research is going on. For us a hydrogen fuelled car is an EV."