Suzuki Announces Volt-Alike Swift Plug-In

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
suzuki announces volt alike swift plug in

Hybrid/electric cooperation between Volkswagen and Suzuki appears to be yielding fruit already, as the Japanese automaker is announcing a plug-in hybrid version of its Swift subcompact. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the new plug-in will combine lithium-ion batteries supplied by Sanyo, paired with a 660cc three cylinder engine. An electric-only range of just under ten miles is being thrown around, after which the gas engine will apparently be used to generate electricity along the lines of GM’s Volt Extended-Range Electric concept. 60 test units of the plug-in Swift will be delivered to Japanese dealers for testing “later this year,” although official plans regarding when and where the vehicle will eventually go on sale have not yet been announced. Suzuki had previously said that one of the goals of its cooperation with VW was to develop electric vehicles for the Japanese market.

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  • 1996MEdition 1996MEdition on May 14, 2010, clean electricity that just comes up out of the ground!

  • TheEyeballKid TheEyeballKid on May 14, 2010

    This is a plug-in hybrid, folks, not an EV - although it could be pitched as one (more on that later*). The 10 mile battery-only range means a small battery pack which will help keep the price (and the cost of replacement) down - the plug-in part means you'll save a lot of gas on at least one leg of your commute - and I bet you could find a way to charge it at work (probably even get parking by the front door). The itty-bitty motor means you aren't range-limited (although if your battery's dead, you'll be a turtle - but probably still reasonably efficient). The electric drivetrain should be simple and bulletproof. If they can keep the price down and/or snag the right subsidies/tax breaks/etc (*that's where being a sort-of-maybe-EV could help a lot), this could be a big hit, even in the US, even with the 660cc 3 and 10-mile battery pack. I think the tiny engine and small battery pack are genius, actually. It's a very clever compromise that, with decent execution, will eat whatever meager lunch the Volt (too expensive) and Leaf (range-limited) were anticipating. Could even take down the Prius - as a smaller, lighter car with a smaller gas engine, a plug-in Swift should get better mileage (especially during the average 16 mile US commute).

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on May 14, 2010

      I understand that it's a hybrid, or a series-hybrid, not strictly an EV. But the moment you dig into the range extension of this type of vehicle, you negate the savings the electric portion offers. Future Volt owners will discover this when they take a long trip, and wonder why they paid $32-40 grand for a 4-passenger car that gets 35 mpg on the highway. The 10-mile range is only useful for the shortest of commutes, if you really want to keep the economy high, and don't mind being a slave to the charger. The Volt's research on US commuters indicated that 40 miles is much more useful.

  • Juniper Juniper on May 14, 2010

    Just a market research project, nothing more.

  • TonyJZX TonyJZX on May 15, 2010

    this is silly a 2004 chassis car 10 miles ONLY and you still plug it in??? why bother? if you make me plug it in, make the range worthwhile seriously pointless car