Earlier this year, Suzuki announced plans to release its first hybrid vehicle - the Suzuki Kizashi. The initial release date was slated for the end of this year. Unfortunately for Suzuki enthusiasts, a North American version of the hybrid now won't be hitting our shores until 2011.
As a consolation prize of sorts, Suzuki has announced plans to unveil two new green-themed concept cars at this year's Tokyo Motor Show. The first is the compact Suzuki Swift Plug-In Hybrid (pictured left). With similar technology as the Chevrolet Volt, the Swift will run primarily on an electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. To improve range, a 660 cc engine serves as an on-the-go generator that recharges the batteries mid-commute.
Though the Swift has similar technology, don't expect it to provide the same electric range as the Chevy Volt (estimated at over 300 miles). Suzuki sees the Swift as more of a city commuter than a long hauler. The Japanese auto manufacturer cites a survey that suggests most drivers travel fewer than 15 miles a day. Though the Swift will undoubtedly provide a higher range than this, these are the people Suzuki sees behind the wheel of their new electric range extender.
Recently released images of the Suzuki Swift concept show a battery placement that runs up into the center console of the front passenger seats. Also, it appears that the concept has been tweaked over initial designs. Headlights, interior trim and wheels have also been redesigned.
Joining the Suzuki Swift on the Tokyo display floor will be the Suzuki SX4-FCV (pictured right). This fuel-cell vehicle combines a 700-bar hydrogen tank with a high-performance fuel cell stack (the fuel cell is courtesy of GM engineers). The latest news for the compact concept indicate a smaller capacitor and lighter materials that should improve performance and handling over the previous generation. The new technology should also improve regenerative capabilities and overall vehicle range.
Test fleets of the Suzuki SX4-FCV are presently being tested in Japan. No word yet when, if ever, these Suzuki concepts will find their way to America.
Both Suzuki concepts fit into the automaker's Tokyo Motor Show theme of "small cars, big future." Suzuki is currently the top-selling brand of compact cars in Japan, and clearly they want to keep it that way. Also on hand for the 41st Tokyo Motor Show will be the Alto Concept - set to be on sale in Japan sometime next year.
Suzuki also plans to debut three new motorcycles, including a Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter that boasts a 700-bar hydrogen tank.