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Baleno Hybrid Prototype Spied Testing


The test mule is likely to be a more effective hybrid than the production-spec Baleno

 

  • The test mule could be powered by a 48V hybrid motor with an all-electric mode.
  • The production-spec Baleno is powered by a 1.2-litre mild-hybrid petrol motor.
  • It will be the second Baleno to get electric modifications by Bosch since the EV prototype showcased in 2018.

Bosch is no strangers to experimenting with electric technology on current cars. In 2016, the company had announced its vision for future mobility that included autonomous vehicles and electric conversion kits. In 2018, at the Auto Expo, Bosch showcased an all-electric prototype of the Baleno running on all-electric power. It was powered by batteries giving out around 115PS (84kw) of power and 200Nm of torque. However, this was merely a prototype and never made it to the production line. Bosch looks to be continuing this experiment with a Baleno prototype with similar Bosch branding with ‘e-drive’ and ‘Hybrid’ stickers. It is still unclear whether the hybrid prototype is a joint collaboration between Maruti Suzuki and Bosch or another Bosch experiment, but we can expect some updates later this year.

From the images of the prototype being tested here, it is evident that it is a proper hybrid iteration of the Baleno hatchback compared to the mild-hybrid variant available in its production guise. A closer analysis of the stickers further reveals a ‘sHEV 48V’ sticker, suggesting that it could be using a 48 volt ‘strong hybrid’ powertrain. Strong Hybrids are vehicles that are driven by both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (ICE). This means that it can run independently on either power source and the ICE could also be used to power up the batteries without the need for an external power supply. The e-drive sticker on the lower side profile also points towards the possibility that the hybrid prototype could be packed with an ‘all-electric’ mode. 

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Currently, Maruti Suzuki sells the Baleno in a mild-hybrid configuration in two variants - DualJet Delta and DualJet Zeta. Both variants are powered by a 1.2-litre Dual-Jet Dual VVT 4-cylinder petrol-hybrid motor that delivers 90PS of power and 113Nm of torque. It is only available with a 5-speed manual transmission and is the most frugal of the petrol engine lineup, delivering a fuel efficiency of 23.87kmpl.

With the Bosch Baleno hybrid-prototype, it could give extra power to the 1.2-litre engine as well as increase the fuel efficiency with its 48V hybrid motor. While we await for further details on the prototype, we do know already that Suzuki and Toyota are working together on developing a new crop of EVs and hybrids under their partnership. Closer home in India, Maruti Suzuki has already set up a plant in Gujarat, in collaboration with Toshiba and Denso for manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles and hybrids, which could hit our markets as early as next year. 

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Image Source: TeamBHP 

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