Subaru unveils the first fully electric car, developed with Toyota

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Subaru unveils the first fully electric car, developed with Toyota


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Subaru Corp. President and CEO Tomomi Nakamura stands next to the first Solterra all-electric vehicle (EV) during an unveiling event in Tokyo, Japan on November 11, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. PHOTOS | KYODO | REUTERS

Reuters

Summary

  • The launch of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) comes amid accelerating demand for electric vehicles as nations around the world tighten environmental regulations to reduce carbon emissions.
  • The technological shift from internal combustion engines presents a challenge for small car manufacturers.
  • Toyota, a pioneer of hybrid electric cars but a late arrival to the full electric vehicle market, expects to have a range of 15 BEV models by 2025.

TOKYO, November 11 (Reuters)– Japan’s Subaru Corp unveiled its first all-electric vehicle (EV) on Thursday, the Solterra, the result of a two-year joint development project with its largest shareholder, Toyota Motor Corp.

The launch of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) comes amid accelerating demand for electric vehicles as nations around the world tighten environmental regulations to reduce carbon emissions. Last month Toyota announced its version of a battery electric vehicle (BEV), the bZ4X.

The technological shift away from internal combustion engines presents a challenge for smaller automakers, such as Subaru, which are less able to finance the expensive development of electric vehicles. At the same time, it is an opportunity for top-tier automakers, such as Toyota, to bring smaller rivals closer together.

“The electric vehicle market is not mature yet, so we will respond to it by deepening our cooperation with Toyota,” Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura said at a launch event.

For now, he said, the Solterra would be built by Toyota in Japan and Subaru could move production to its main market, the United States, when it has sufficient sales volume.

Toyota, a pioneer of hybrid electric cars but a laggard in the full electric vehicle market, expects to have a range of 15 BEV models by 2025. In addition, it will spend $ 13.5 billion over the next decade to expand battery production capacity to car.

Subaru’s vehicle sales are less than one-tenth that of Toyota, the world’s largest automaker by production volume.

The front-wheel drive Solterra has a range of 530 km (329 miles), while the all-wheel drive version can travel 460 km on a single charge, Subaru said in a press release.

Toyota owns a fifth of Subaru and has a 5% stake in Mazda Motor Corp, which plans to launch 13 electrified vehicles by 2025, including hybrids and BEVs that will incorporate Toyota technology.

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