Suzuki Motors may have a couple of small and fuel-efficient cars in its lineup but the Japanese carmaker might decide to temporarily field a hybrid version of the Swift to answer the Thai government's demand for more environment-friendly vehicles.
The Swift Range Extender is based on the second-generation Swift but instead of a 1.5-liter engine, the hybrid uses a three-cylinder, 12-valve 0.66-liter powerplant that produces 54hp and 63Nm of torque. Paired to it is a lithium-ion-battery-powered electric motor that puts out an equivalent of 74hp and 180Nm of torque.
The petrol engine essentially acts as an electricity generator to power the electric motor, allowing it to run on battery power alone when fully charged. When the battery runs low, the Swift Range Extender runs on electricity generated by the petrol engine.
According to Suzuki, utilizing a small petrol engine to power the electric motor makes the use of costly and heavy batteries unnecessary.
The Swift Range Extender could be Suzuki's stand-in for the brand's entry to Thailand's eco-car program. Suzuki is currently constructing an eco-car manufacturing plant at the Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate in Rayong province, Thailand, with the production of the vehicle expected to commence by March 2012.
Raise your hand if you want this hybrid sold in the Philippines, too! Okay, the Suzuki guys won't see that. Just post your comment and be read.