Subaru, the Japanese automaker, has announced their first all-electric vehicle that will initially launch in Japan before rolling out to other markets. The SUV which they are calling Solterra has been a joint initiative between Subaru and Toyota. Toyota is a pioneer in hybrid electric cars and the biggest automaker in sales volume in the world.
Electric vehicles are expensive to manufacture, and this informs the decision by a small automaker like Subaru to co-develop with Toyota, whose sales are more by tenfold. Toyota also has a stake in Mazda, who will be incorporating Toyota technology in the electrified vehicles they are manufacturing.
“The EV (Electric Vehicle) market is not mature yet, so we will respond to it by deepening our cooperation with Toyota,” Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura during the launch event.
The combination of Toyota’s experience in the world of electric technology in vehicles and the Subaru four-wheel-drive provides a stable car, enough to rival the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Subaru started their efforts for car electrification in 2019, which led them to launch the hybrid variants of the Subaru XV and the Forester. The all-electric Solterra SUV shares a lot of its mechanicals and body panels with the Toyota bZ4x, which is Toyota’s version of a battery electric vehicle (BEV).
The Subaru Solterra is powered by a 71.4kWh battery pack and will come in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions. The front wheel’s cruising speed has a range of about 530Km (329 miles) while the all-wheel caps at 460km (286 miles).
There is 150kW DC fast-charging available on the Solterra in case the battery goes low, an ability availed through their co-shared EV platform with Toyota, which they call e-Subaru and e-TNGA respectively.
The front-wheel-drive model comes with 18-inch wheels as standard, while the four-wheel-drive variant can be fitted with either 18 or 20-inch alloys. Subaru says its electric SUV is 4,690mm long, 1,860mm wide and 1,650mm in height. To put it in a familiar context, it will be a size as big as the forester.
If you ever find yourself on a rough road, the dual-motor Solterra has what they call an X-Mode AWD drivetrain setting, which distributes the force the car experiences to achieve grip.
On the inside of the Solterra, you get the same digital gauge cluster as Toyota bZ4x, a high center console, and a huge infotainment system in the center of the dashboard that resembles that found in Teslas.
Pricing for this SUV is yet to be released.