Suzuki Motor will start offering an affordable gasoline-electric hybrid technology in its vehicles. Suzuki executive vice president Osamu Honda remarked that even a small carmaker like Suzuki will have to further improve fuel efficiency as customers' expectations are growing not only in Japan and Europe but also in emerging markets.
Suzuki has already launched a regenerative braking system wherein a car's kinetic energy is converted to electrical energy during braking. The resulting electricity is captured into a lithium ion battery and used run equipment like the air conditioner. Suzuki said that its new hybrid system uses electricity to help the car accelerate.
The technology is already being employed by Nissan Motor Corp. and Volkswagen Group. While the hybrid technology in Toyota Motor Corp's Prius allows the car to run solely on electricity, Suzuki’s system cannot, but is cheaper and simpler.
Suzuki managing officer Masato Kasai said they will introduce its new hybrid system on a compact car to be sold in Japan, and then in Europe.
Honda remarked that Suzuki hopes to develop a more sophisticated hybrid system in the future. Suzuki tried offering the Twin hybrid car in 2003, but sales did not jumpstart and the vehicle was phased out. [source: Reuters]