Getting straight to the point, SHVS essentially stands for Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki. It is a mild hybrid system that incorporates an integrated starter generator (ISG) that offers the engine power assistance using the motor and is capable of achieving power regeneration.
Sounds a little Greek to you? Well, to put it simply, it is a small generator that uses electricity from the battery to pass through what is technically known as stator windings (copper wire coils) and create a magnetic field that causes the rotor to spin and start the engine. In reverse, the rotors spin when operating freely (the main engine is not under any load – like going downhill or coasting) and the spinning magnets within the stator windings create electricity which can then be stored in the battery and utilized later. It is a small unit that is normally fixed between the engine and the transmission and on occasion it can be fitted externally to an engine and connected to the crankshaft via a drive belt. In such a case the ISG will also act as the engine’s starter motor (a solution that Maruti Suzuki will most probably use).
Ok, that still might sound like Greek to you, but hopefully now you get the drift. An ISG is a small component that can be added to an existing engine and doesn’t require too much to be re-engineered making it a cost effective option to enhance the vehicle’s fuel efficiency though a number of functions including engine start/stop, provide additional power to the engine when required, and provide regenerative braking (generate electricity when the car is coasting/ going downhill). (Eureka Moment: Cost effective solution + better fuel efficiency = great value for money proposition or Maruti Suzuki!)
Sounds great right? A relatively simple solution to boosting a vehicle’s efficiency – the holy grail of motoring across the globe. The good news is that this technology which was earlier found only on high end vehicles is finally making its way down to the masses. Suzuki, like all other manufacturers today, is focused on cleaner technology and a mild hybrid system is a suitable answer to usher in some change. The company made their intention clear at the Geneva Motor Show held in March this year where they showcased two concepts, namely the iM-4 (a 4×4 concept) and the iK-2 (now christened as the new Baleno which will premiere at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show); both of which featured new ‘green’ tech including the SHVS mild hybrid system.
Considering all that information, the turnaround time for Maruti Suzuki to go ahead and work on the Ciaz and offer it with a SHVS is commendable. What’s even better is that the mild hybrid system has been fitted on to the DDiS model and not the petrol unit, a great move when you consider the fact that the diesel version far outsells the petrol Ciaz and by giving it an additional boost in mileage will only draw in more customers. Yeah, you could argue that the petrol unit would also benefit from from such a system, but we have a feeling that Maruti Suzuki has different plans for that (maybe the 1.4 litre BOOSTERJET).
As far as pricing is considered, the SHVS DDiS Ciaz will most likely draw a premium over the current version, but as mentioned before, it is a cost-effective solution and therefore the increase isn’t expected to be something that will deter people from opting for the car. After all, the extra boost in efficiency should more than make up for the price hike over time.
Update: If all that was a little overwhelming, here’s a quick video explaining SHVS technology in the simplest way possible!
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