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by Chris Anderson-Peters

Japanese manufacturer Suzuki, the second-largest minicar maker in Japan, will soon introduce a plug-in hybrid version of its popular Swift compact car. The Suzuki Swift Plug-in hybrid was first seen at the Tokyo motorshow and later at the Geneva Motorshow. The deal will see batteries (lithium-ion) supplied by Sanyo.

The plug-in hybrid Suzuki Swift can potentially drive up to 15kms on a fully charged battery. Suzuki says the battery will be coupled to a 660cc engine to generate electricity. With the new Swift expected in 2011, the company is still reluctant to say when the hybrid variant will go on sale.

To start the process Japanese Suzuki dealerships are planning on testing 60 units in the later half of 2010. Volkswagen, which agreed to buy a 19.9 stake in Suzuki last December, plans on collaborating with the Japanese carmaker on a number of electric and hybrid vehicle projects.

Suzuki’s foray in the competitive hybrid market comes after announcements by Toyota and GM on their respective Prius and Volt plug-in hybrid projects.

The new Suzuki Swift is expected in Australia by early next year.




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