Suzuki Jimny EV expected in 2026

Suzuki Jimny EV

Suzuki’s Jimny doesn't belong to any particular class. Down in no small part to its universally loved looks, it is a car that appeals to a diverse set of customers. The compact off-roader, in fact, is so popular, Suzuki is keen to build on the brand and carry forward its success. This is why the company is working on an electric version of its iconic off-roader. 

Suzuki Jimny EV three-door for Europe first

The Jimny EV has all but been announced for the European market. A silhouette of the car appeared on Suzuki’s announcement of upcoming EVs for Europe. And going EV really does make sense for the three-door Jimny in Europe. The Jimny, remember, today is only sold as a commercial vehicle in Europe due to the petrol version’s high CO2 footprint. This is why Suzuki will launch the Jimny EV in Europe first. And that will be the three-door version. What will follow in its footsteps will be the five-door version that will be made in India. 

The Jimny EV was previewed in Suzuki's announcement of upcoming EVs for Europe.

Suzuki Jimny EV: the electric journey

Re-engineering the Jimny to run purely on electricity won’t be easy. Converting a body-on-frame SUV into an electric one poses many technical challenges. To begin with, a dedicated ladder-frame chassis takes up a lot of room – space that otherwise could have been occupied by a battery. And what compounds the problem is that the Jimny’s compact dimensions work against it.

Still, there are plenty of examples of body-on-frame SUVs or pick-up trucks that have successfully been converted to electric. Ford’s F-150 Lightning is one such successful conversion, and Toyota also recently showcased EV versions of the Hilux and Innova, which will hit the market in two years.

What Maruti and Suzuki are likely to do on the Jimny is install the battery pack within the frame. This is likely to both protect the battery better and work well as a packaging solution. A 60kWh battery similar to the one used on the eVX concept shown at Auto Expo could be used for the Jimny, and if the engineers need more space, they could also use double-deck battery modules. This is a solution that has already been successfully used to convert other body-on-frame SUVs.

Another option, like on the Hilux, would be to place the battery below the frame with a protector installed below. This would affect the ground clearance of the long-wheelbase Jimny and the 210mm ground clearance would thus have to be further raised. 

Suzuki will also want to install a motor at both axles, if it is keen to keep the off-road character of the Jimny intact. This shouldn’t pose too much of a problem either. With no engine and transmission up front, there will be plenty of space for the front axle, and the rear electric motor is also likely to be packaged in the vicinity of the rear differential. There won’t be a transfer case and that will save weight, but with a big battery pack and twin motors, the Jimny EV is likely to be heavy.

Still, with two axles providing a higher level of regeneration, efficiency is unlikely to be affected much. Heavy EVs, after all, aren’t comparatively as inefficient as heavy ICE vehicles. And what’s neat is that the five-door Jimny could also gain some additional practicality; yes, it could also have a ‘frunk’ up front and some real luggage space.

Also See:

Opinion: Jimny – the return of the (Gypsy) King

Suzuki Jimny review: Turns more heads than a supercar

‘5-door Jimny won't lose off-road appeal’: Maruti Suzuki CTO

from Autocar India
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