2009 Tokyo Show: Suzuki Swift Plug in Hybrid

While Suzuki isn’t announcing any future U.S. powertrains at this point, we do know the company has advanced technology like plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles undergoing development.

At this year’s Tokyo show, Suzuki is showing off a plug-in hybrid version of its Swift hatchback. The Swift features a 660cc kei car engine that functions as a range-extending generator instead of directly driving the wheels — the technology is similar in concept to the Chevy Volt, which isn’t surprising since GM and Suzuki were partners for a long time. The Swift can travel approximately 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) on a single charge, which supposedly fits the needs of many Japanese drivers. Suzuki didn’t mention what type of batteries store the charge in the hybrid Swift.

It’s worth noting Suzuki hasn’t ruled out the Swift as a potential addition to its U.S. line, and a hybrid vehicle would certainly bolster Suzuki’s image in the U.S. as every manufacturer struggles to meet the 35.5 mpg mandate and other environmental goals. Some barriers to bringing a Swift hybrid over to the U.S. include the rather short range on electric power, a non-federalized 660cc engine, and a rather steep entry price for such a small car.