Suzuki is an automaker that we don't hear too much from in the U.S. However, when we do hear from it--such as with the two SX4s we've tested--we generally like what it has to say. So when we got word that a plug-in hybrid version of one of the smallest Suzukis, the Swift, would be on display at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, our interest was piqued.
The Suzuki Swift plug-in hybrid can be classified as a series gas-electric hybrid or an extended-range electric vehicle, depending on who you ask. The front wheels are turned by a 54 kW (72.4 horsepower) electric motor, which gets its supply of electrons from an array of lithium ion batteries. The battery pack is mounted in the center tunnel with rather novel window cut into the center console, displaying one of the cells.
When the batteries run low, a small 600cc gasoline generator kicks in (a la Chevy Volt) to power the electric motor and keep the batteries topped off.
Range and fuel economy data has not yet been supplied, but stay tuned to our continuing coverage of the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show for more details as they emerge.