By on May 14, 2010

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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9 Comments on “Suzuki Announces Volt-Alike Swift Plug-In...”

  • avatar

    Wonderful, but what is the vehicle price that will lure paying customers?

    The girl in the photo looks distinctly non-Japanese. Are we to expect this vehicle in the US?

    Ten miles on battery may be OK for congested JDM roads, but that’s a no-go in the US.

    Finally, why do they paint all alternative fuel vehicles to look like a college science project? I think this hurts the image of such emerging technology, playing up the mad-scientist stereotype.

    • 0 avatar

      The base 1.2L Swift goes for around $11,000 and tops off at $15,000 fully loaded with the larger engine and CVT.

      This Swift uses the cheaper 660cc kei-engine as the range extender, and has a 10 mile range.

      I would hope Suzuki can sell this for between $15,000-20,000 before tax rebates.

      I would say that fact that they used the Swift as a base rather then the more popular Alto that may be better suited for EV, probably means that they have Western markets in mind as well as Indina and China.

      Priced right, this could finally be the killer car for Suzuki, if they could offer a “bargain” EV with range-extending engine for sub-$20k, Suzuki may actually do well in markets other then India and Japan.

  • avatar

    Hot chick.

    Lousy battery range.

    Dumb place for the cord connection.

    When will someone come up with a retractible cord (who wants to f***-around with an extension cord every time they go to drive in the rain, snow, muddy parking lot?) The takeup reel could be concealed in the roof or under the hood!

    • 0 avatar

      My immediate thought was that Helga will back over that charging post in under two weeks. I guess it will be moved to the front for US drivers or include a back-up camera?

  • avatar

    Wow….free, clean electricity that just comes up out of the ground!

  • avatar

    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).

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    Just a market research project, nothing more.

  • avatar

    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

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