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M&M provides hybrid taste

New Delhi, Jan. 12: Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd today catapulted India into the ranks of global hybrid vehicle makers when it showcased the Scorpio hybrid at the 8th Auto Expo.

The country’s first hybrid SUV is still a concept vehicle that won’t be commercially available for another three to four years.

Hybrid cars represent the Holy Grail in automotives: it's a scramble to find that elusive mix between a fossil fuel and a cheap and clean alternative energy source.

M&M is developing the Scorpio hybrid on its own. It yokes diesel and electric power in an attempt to provide 8 to 10 per cent saving on fuel costs.

“This is a product that we are still working on in the lab,” said M&M president Pawan Goenka. “It is an honest attempt to provide sustainable mobility to our customers.”

The hybrid techonology that M&M is harnessing in the Scorpio promises 15 to 16 km per litre of fuel. With a full tank of fuel one can cover 600 to 700 km, which means that one would need to load up just once on a breezy drive from Mumbai to Goa.

The Scorpio hybrid will use the CRDe (common rail diesel engine) technology and an electric transaxle supported by a traction battery.

So how is it different from other hybrids' One unique feature is that it cuts out engine idling at traffic stops. The ignition is switched off when the traffic light turns red, and the vehicle roars back to life by drawing power from the electric system simply by stepping on the accelerator.

“You could lose over a litre of fuel at a traffic stop of 120 seconds by idling the engine,” said Arun Jaura, M&M’s vice-president (product development and R&D) for the automotive sector. Jaura earlier worked for Ford’s Escape hybrid platform in the US.

The company also unveiled the Scorpio Lifestyle and eight other concept vehicles, including the Scorpio CEO, Scorpio Techno and the Bijlee.

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