Toyota Motor Corp on Friday launched its second hybrid car in India, a seven-seat people-carrier, as part of a broader strategy to double-down on the sale of electrified vehicles in emerging markets.
The Innova HyCross, a hybrid version of the popular multi-purpose vehicle that Toyota already sells in India, builds on the success of its hybrid sport-utility vehicle (SUV), Urban Cruiser HyRyder, which went on sale in September.
“With this offering we are confident that the expansion of eco-friendly vehicles will be ensured,” Hideki Mizuma, chief engineer at Toyota Innova, said at the car’s unveil in Mumbai.
Green investors have criticised the world’s largest carmaker by sales for slowness in moving its product line-up to all-electric, battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
But the company says hybrids make more sense in markets where infrastructure is not ready for BEVs and that it needs to offer a variety of choices
A full hybrid can be driven for stretches on electric power whereas mild hybrid technology only supplements the combustion engine to help cut emissions. However, mild hybrids have smaller batteries and cost far less.
Toyota and partner Suzuki Motor Corp have plans to build hybrid vehicles in India for domestic sale and export to markets like Africa, which they think are best suited for this technology. The hybrid push also comes amid an aggressive EV push by domestic rivals Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.
India wants carmakers to build more electric models but the uptake for such vehicles so far has been slow, and only Tata builds them locally.