For many of you, this may sound new as we have heard about conventional diesel, petrol or CNG cars and they are indeed quite popular among us. But this new term is actually not so new. Hybrid cars in India are already there since quite a few years. So to understand better, it’s essential to know what this new term ‘hybrid’ means and then it will be easy to list down the best hybrid cars in India.
What is a Hybrid car?
A hybrid car is that types of cars which have both electric motor and combustion (diesel/petrol) engine and both the systems recapture energy via the regenerative braking mechanism. Sometimes the electric motor does all the work, sometimes the diesel/petrol engine does and sometimes they both work together.
In simple words, a car where both electric motor and conventional combustion engine work to regenerate energy and power to drive the vehicle. Hence less diesel/petrol is burnt, leading to better fuel economy than traditional fuel cars.
Types of Hybrid cars
The Full Hybrid or FHEV:
It can run on just the electric motor (getting its power from batteries) or on a combustion engine or a combination of both. Toyota Camry is an example of FHEV. An FHEV is not plugged to charge the battery; while the battery gets charged by running the combustion engine.
The Mild Hybrids:
In this type of cars, both the combustion engine and the electric motor always work simultaneously. These cars cannot just run in electric or just combustion engine; both the engine and motor always work parallelly. Unfortunately, there are no such cars in India.
As its name says, this type of car requires plugging into an electric supply to recharge its battery. But it also has a combustion engine. That means either the car can fully run on the electric motor or it can run using on fuel. Although BMW used to provide some of this category, it stopped its sales in recent years. So, unlike mild hybrids, these types of cars are no longer available in India.
Smart hybrid cars:
Maruti Suzuki claims that the hybrid technology they use is called as the smart hybrid. Smart hybrids behave similarly as FHEV but these cars have dual battery setup including a Lithium-Ion Battery. This energy stored in the batteries helps in smooth acceleration of the vehicle, the engine’s idle start-stop and the torque assist functions hence boosting fuel efficiency.
List of hybrid cars in India
So, coming to the point of the number of hybrid cars in the Indian market, the answer is very few. Only a handful of companies still provide hybrid cars like Toyota, Maruti, MG Motors.
While electric cars are all around the globe, the market share of hybrid cars is going down. Still, seeing the limitations of electric vehicles (EVs) in the Indian market, the demand for hybrid cars can be more because the EVs doesn’t have a combustion engine at all and India is yet to install an adequate amount of EV charging stations; the hybrids win the race here, as they have both electric as well as combustion engine leading to more efficiency in fuel.
The Indian automobile market is dominated by those cars which provide better fuel efficiency, affordable price range from ₹5 lakhs onwards for hatchbacks and between ₹10 lakhs to ₹15 lakhs for SUVs.
1. Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga, Ciaz, S-Cross, Baleno, XL 6 and Vitara Brezza are quite affordable hybrid cars. Maruti leads in the automobile market in India because of it’s affordable, technologized cars. For more details, you can check the company’s website.
Maruti’s The New Baleno is also a petrol hybrid car. Though, it also has a normal petrol model which is not a smart hybrid. It’s a hatchback car. It has two types of engines: the 1.2L VVT produces 113 Nm @ 4,200 rpm torque and 61 kW @ 6,000 rpm while the 1.2L Dualjet, Dual VVT engine produces 113 Nm @ 4,400 rpm torque and 66 kW @ 6,000 rpm. The normal petrol variant gives a mileage of 19.56 km/l and the hybrid variant gives a mileage of 23.87km/l. The price starts at ₹ 5,63,602 for the petrol variant and the petrol hybrid variant’s price starts at ₹ 7,33,412. (*Ex-showroom)
2. Maruti’s Vitara Breezza is a 5 seater car. It also has a petrol hybrid variant. Its engine produces a maximum torque of 138 Nm @ 4,400 rpm and a maximum power of 77 kW @ 6,600 rpm. The automatic transmission model claims a mileage of 18.76 km/l while the manual transmission claims 17.03 km/l. Its price starts at ₹ 7,34,000. (*Ex-showroom)
3. The new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga comes in two variants, one petrol and other CNG, but both the variants have smart hybrid technology. Its engine produces a maximum torque of 138 Nm @ 4,400 rpm and a maximum power of 77 kW @ 6,600 rpm. The petrol hybrid variant gives a mileage of around 19.01 km/l for manual transmission and 17.99 km/l for automatic transmission while the CNG hybrid gives a mileage of 26.08 km/kg. All these mileage are according to Maruti’s official data. The base model of Ertiga starts from ₹ 7.59 Lakhs (*Ex-showroom). It’s an MPV.
4. Unlike Maruti Ertiga, Ciaz is also a petrol hybrid car. But it’s a sedan car. Its engine produces a maximum torque of 138 Nm @ 4,400 rpm and a maximum power of 77 kW @ 6,600 rpm. The company claims that this car gives a mileage of 20.65 km/l. Its price range starts from ₹ 8.31 Lakhs. (*Ex-showroom)
5. Maruti S- Cross is somehow an SUV (Sports Utility vehicle) but uses smart hybrid technology. It is also a petrol hybrid car. Its engine produces a maximum torque of 138 Nm @ 4,400 rpm and a maximum power of 77 kW @ 6,000 rpm. The mileage of this car is not so good as others. The mileage ranges between 18.43 and 18.55 km/l. The price starts at ₹ 8.39 Lakhs. (*Ex-showroom)
6. Maruti’s XL 6 is a 6 seater car. It also has a petrol hybrid variant. Its engine produces a maximum torque of 138 Nm @ 4,400 rpm and a maximum power of 77 kW @ 6,000 rpm. The automatic transmission model claims a mileage of 17.99 km/l while the manual transmission claims 19.01 km/l. Its price starts at ₹ 9,84,689. (*Ex-showroom)
7. MG Motors (Morris Garages) is a newcomer in the Indian automobile market. MG Hector is a hybrid car. Although it doesn’t have a petrol hybrid variant, it has both CNG hybrid and diesel hybrid variants and a normal petrol variant. Its engine include 48 V Hybrid, 1.5 Litre Turbo and produces 143 PS Power and 250 Nm torque. The normal petrol gives a mileage of 15.81 km/l while the diesel hybrid gives a mileage of 17.41 km/l. MG claims Hector to be an SUV. It also offers a ton of features like Hill Hold control, Electric Parking Brakes, ABS etc. The price starts at ₹ 12,83,000 and goes up to ₹ 17.89 Lakhs. (*Ex-showroom)
8. Last in the list is the Toyota Camry. It’s a Full Hybrid car. It comes with petrol or CNG Engine along with an electric motor. Its engine gives an output of 131 kW (178 PS) @ 5,700 rpm and a torque of 221 Nm @ 3,600 – 5,200 rpm. It’s a sedan car and it gives a mileage of 19.16 km/l. The price starts at ₹ 39,02,000. (*Ex-showroom) This is the most expensive hybrid car in the Indian market.
Hence, from the above comparison, it can be seen that Maruti Suzuki provides budget-friendly cars keeping Indian people’s in mind. MG is also affordable if people want to buy SUVs whereas Toyota is really expensive which people will definitely think while planning to buy it.
In short, Hybrid cars show a better future than normal petrol or diesel but again these Hybrid cars of Indian market are not fully hybrid. So, thinking about environment, automakers are trying to manufacture affordable electric cars than Hybrid cars for Indian market.
Although the Indian automobile market is such a market where people want affordable cars below ₹ 10 lakhs, sometimes even ₹ 5 lakhs. So, electric cars can be a dream and also a few years behind.