Tokyo - The Subaru Solterra has been revealed as the Japanese company’s first global all-electric vehicle, and it’s the result of a two-year joint development project with its biggest shareholder, Toyota.
The battery-powered SUV comes amid accelerating demand for EVs as nations around the world tighten environmental regulation to cut carbon emissions. Toyota last month announced its version of the joint venture, the bZ4X which shares most of its design elements with the new Subaru.
The technological shift away from internal combustion engines poses a challenge for smaller carmakers, such as Subaru, that are less able to fund expensive development of EVs. At the same time, it is an opportunity for top-tier carmakers, such as Toyota, to draw smaller rivals closer.
"The EV market is not mature yet, so we will respond to it by deepening our cooperation with Toyota," Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura said during a launch event.
For now, he said, the Solterra would be built by Toyota in Japan and Subaru may move production to its main market, the United States, when it had sufficient sales volume.
The single-motor front-wheel drive Solterra has a system output of 150kW and a cruising range of 530km, while the dual-motor all-wheel drive version, with 160kW in total, can drive 460km on a single charge, Subaru said.
Toyota, a pioneer of hybrid electric cars but a latecomer to the full EV market, plans to have a line-up of 15 BEV models by 2025. It is also spending $13.5 billion over the next decade to expand battery production capacity.
Vehicle sales at Subaru are less than a tenth of those at Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker by production volume.
Toyota owns a fifth of Subaru and has a 5% stake in Mazda, which plans to launch 13 electrified vehicles by 2025, including hybrids and BEVs that will incorporate Toyota technology.
IOL & Reuters