Subaru is a little later than most legacy carmakers to the electric vehicle (EV) game, but is now putting the pedal to the metal.
The Japanese carmaker announced as part of its latest financial results presentation that it plans to roll out three more electric crossovers by the end of 2026, in addition to the current Solterra.
These three upcoming Subaru EVs will be built in Japan at Subaru plants and use batteries sourced through its alliance with Toyota. It’s worth noting the Solterra is essentially a rebadged Toyota bZ4X, with the two companies having co-developed the electric twins.
At this stage it’s unclear if these three new Subaru EVs will launch in Australia.
In addition to this announcement, Subaru detailed its roadmap that culminates in having the capacity to build 400,000 EVs annually by 2028.
In order to achieve this, the Japanese carmaker will start producing EVs in-house at its Yajima plant with the goal of producing 200,000 units per year by “around 2026”.
Subaru will also add a dedicated EV production line around 2027 at its Oizumi plant, which currently manufactures engines and transmissions, with the same goal of producing 200,000 EVs annually.
Beyond this, the Japanese carmaker plans to begin producing a next-generation hybrid vehicle setup in 2025. The transmissions for this will be produced at the Kitamoto plant which was formerly used to manufacture industrial products.
As previously reported, the next CEO of Subaru, Atsushi Osaki, said the company will “accelerate [its] efforts to address the profound transformation that the automotive industry is undergoing”.
The new CEO also said he would concentrate on growing sales in the US and Australia. The US accounts for around 65 per cent of the carmaker’s sales, while Australia is the company’s fourth largest market after the US, Japan, and Canada.
As noted above, the Subaru Solterra still hasn’t launched in Australia and was recently delayed until the second half of this year.
The electric crossover’s arrival has been creeping later and later into 2023, with the company originally announcing last year it would touch down in the first half of 2023 before delaying it to mid-year.
Subaru hasn’t specified the impact of overseas recall activity and has instead cited supply constraints. That’s different from Toyota, which hinted it was delaying the launch of the near-identical bZ4X to the fourth quarter of 2023 to obtain an updated model.
The Solterra is expected to come here solely in dual-motor all-wheel drive configuration, whereas single-motor front-wheel drive versions of it and the bZ4X are offered overseas.
The dual-motor version has 160kW of power and 337Nm of torque, up 10kW and 71Nm on the single-motor version.
Both variants use a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery with a maximum AC charger output of 6.6kW and a maximum DC charging output of 150kW.
WLTP range figures for the related bZ4X put the FWD model at 516km and the AWD model at 470km, with claimed 0-100km/h times of 7.5 seconds and 6.9 seconds, respectively.
The AWD Solterra features a Subaru-developed X-Mode AWD control system, as in other Subaru SUVs. It’s also available with 20-inch alloy wheels, while the FWD model is only available with 18s.
The electric crossover measures 4690mm long, 1860mm wide and 1650mm tall on a 2850mm wheelbase. That makes it slightly longer and wider than a Forester. Ground clearance is 210mm, or 10mm less than a Forester, while kerb weight ranges between 1930kg and 2020kg.
Globally, Subaru and Toyota have run into roadblocks while rolling out these models.
A crippling wheel hub bolt issue, which could cause the wheels to fall off, sparked a huge recall campaign and halted production for months – Toyota USA even offered to buy cars back – as the brands scrambled to find a solution.
The Solterra has now been recalled in the US once again after some vehicles didn’t receive the proper fix for the hub bolt issue.