Japanese carmaker Subaru has unveiled its very first all-electric vehicle which it has dubbed the “Solterra”, in homage to the sun and the earth.
The compact SUV will be launched in Japan, the US, Canada, Europe and China by the middle of 2022.
There was no mention in the company’s release of an Asia-Pacific release, and a spokesperson for Subaru Australia told The Driven that: “The Subaru factory in Japan confirm that there is no timeline for the electric Solterra vehicle in Australia. However, future electric vehicle projects form part of ongoing dialogue between Subaru Australia and the factory.”
The new Solterra e-SUV is the child of a partnership between Subaru and Toyota first announced in 2019, and is built on an all-electric platform jointly developed by the two companies.
It is also the first electric vehicle in Subaru’s plan to target 100% electric car sales by 2030, and its announcement – absent of details such as driving range and power output – comes just weeks after Toyota also announced its first electric SUV, which has been given the hard-to-remember name bZ4X.
The company’s choice of name for the new e-SUV seeks to press home appreciation of ” mother nature and further advance the form of coexistence with it,” although how firmly or quickly the car-maker achieves a transition to clean transport to actually do its part in reducing carbon emissions, time will tell.
Subaru along with some other Japanese car-makers (namely Toyota and Mazda) is somewhat late to introducing pure electric vehicles, despite having been on the forefront with hybrids, and fellow car-maker birthing the Nissan Leaf a decade ago which has seen the CHAdeMO plug standard proliferate throughout Japan.
Subaru has two non-pluggable hybrid vehicles already available in Australia – the XV and Forester hybrids, which save (according to the company) drivers between 7-19% in fuel costs and carbon emissions.
Dubbed the e-SGB (e-Subaru Global), the platform will simplify the company’s ability to roll out a variety of electric vehicles by combining modules and components, an approach that is becoming common among legacy carmakers as they plan a switch to electric mobility.
Subaru and Toyota’s collaboration is not limited to the development of the all-electric platform, but also includes product planning and performance evaluation.
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 since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.