Japanese carmaker Subaru has set a target to sell 100% electric vehicles by mid-2030 to work towards a zero carbon society, it announced at a briefing on Monday.
Subaru has been, along with fellow Japanese car makers Toyota and Mazda, somewhat late to commit to a transition to electric vehicles, although a deal inked in June 2019 with Toyota indicated a change of focus might be in the offing.
Under that partnership, Subaru said that it would develop an all-electric C-Class SUV with Toyota which both car makers would sell under their own badges.
Subaru currently sells a range of “mild hybrids” and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and as part of the new commitment to electrification is now planning a “strong hybrid” for release in the late 2020s in addition to the all-electric SUV.
“Although we’re using Toyota technology, we want to make hybrids that are distinctly Subaru,” said chief technology officer Tetsuo Onuki at the briefing as reported by Reuters.
“It’s not only about reducing CO2 emissions. We need to further improve vehicle safety and the performance of our all-wheel drive.”
The commitment by Subaru will see it aim for 40% of all its cars sold globally made up of either all-electric or hybrid vehicles by 2030.
Subaru has now also announced it will debut three non-plug-in hybrid models in Australia in March 2020, when it will introduce an XV Hybrid SUV from $35,580 before on-road costs, and two hybrid Foresters starting from $39,990 before on-road costs.
Both will feature Subaru’s horizontal e-Boxer engine technology which the company says will offer a 7-14% saving in fuel efficiency for the XV Hybrid and a 9-19% saving for the Foresters, but will not be able to drive on pure electric propulsion, unlike “full” hybrids.
Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie said: “While we initially see both our e-Boxer mild hybrid system models as niche options in our range, we’ve already got significant interest from fleet customers and also Subaru fans who have long indicated pent-up demand for new technology engine options.
“Of course all this new technology is underpinned by our customer must-haves: fun, safety, reliability and great engineering.
“And we’re confident that the wonderful retained value and whole-of-life cost benefits enjoyed by other new Subarus will also carry over to our hybrids.”
Subaru did not immediately respond to whether or not plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles would become part of a line-up in Australia in the foreseeable future.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.