Delays for Subaru’s first electric vehicle in Australia haven’t affected demand, according to the company’s local boss.

    CarExpert was given a sneak peak of Subaru’s first ever battery-electric vehicle the Solterra around 12 months ago, but Australia won’t be getting that model. Instead, the company delayed the car’s launch to offer an updated model.

    “Our initial aim was to be in market by [the second quarter of] this year, so we’re about six months behind due to production and supply challenges and we’ve elected to wait for the next model year to launch with the 2024 model year,” said Subaru Australia managing director Blair Read.

    We still don’t know pricing and specifications ahead of the Solterra’s October 2023 on-sale date. Deliveries will begin before the end of the year.

    “We haven’t finalised pricing and specification yet, but compared to the evaluation car we have had here for a year, there are some updates and improvements that will flow through to the MY24 Solterra,” said Mr Read.

    “While orders for Solterra don’t officially open until October, there’s strong interest from customers that have been into a dealership and wanted to sign a contract.”

    Not surprisingly, the majority of those customers making inquiries on Solterra have been existing Subaru owners.

    “Once we officially open orders, we expect to build a strong order bank, with a good number of those expected to be Subaru customers, but we still expect to bring new customers to the brand with Solterra.”

    The electric Solterra is a mid-sized SUV that’s both longer and wider than the Subaru Forester and features front and rear electric motors for all-wheel drive.

    Claimed range for the current model is between 487km and 542km. These figures are measured on the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s test cycle, and might differ with the MY24 model arriving here.

    According to Japanese specifications, the Solterra AWD features a 80kW/169Nm electric motor on each axle, with system outputs rated at 160kW and 337Nm. It features a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

    The maximum AC charge rate is 6.6kW and the maximum DC charge rate is 150kW.

    Toyota Australia is also expected to launch the bZ4X during the second half of 2023, having delayed its first assault on the ever-growing electric car market in Australia by nearly 12 months.

    Both vehicles sit on the co-created e-TNGA electric architecture (dubbed e-Subaru Global Platform by Subaru). Luxury arm Lexus has also put its own spin on this platform, in the form of the new RZ which has already launched Down Under.

    Competitors already in market include the Tesla Model Y (from $69,300 before on-road costs), Hyundai Ioniq 5 (from $72,000), and Kia EV6 ($72,590).  

    Anthony Crawford
    Anthony Crawford is a Senior Road Tester at CarExpert.
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