Subaru PHEV to Launch In U.S. This Year, BEV In 2021

3 days ago by Steven Loveday 18

Subaru PHEV

A Subaru PHEV will be made possible through the use of the automaker’s global platform, which is the foundation for the Impreza (Image Credit: Subaru)

A Subaru PHEV is coming to the U.S. this year, followed by a battery-electric vehicle in 2021, all compliments of joint efforts with a previous automotive partner and some new teammates.

Subaru’s relationship with Toyota is nothing new. The two have partnered on projects in the past. In fact, the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are essentially the same car (and then there’s the Scion FR-S, which is also the same car, made by Toyota and now discontinued). All of these car’s use Subaru’s boxer engine, but shared powertrains among these automakers are about to head into the future.

Toyota owns 17 percent of Subaru and has welcomed the automaker into a collective EV partnership called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co. It was created last fall along with Mazda, and supplier Denso, to focus on the development of shared EV architecture.

Subaru PHEV partner

Toyota Prius Plug-In (Prius Prime)

As a result of the new venture, new partners in Subaru’s future electrification pursuits — aside from Toyota and Mazda — will include Daihatsu, Suzuki, and Hino.

This not to say that Subaru isn’t already working on its own in-house electrification efforts. However, according to the automaker’s chief technical officer, Takeshi Tachimori, upcoming plug-in hybrid, and potentially, battery-electric vehicles, will bank on such partnerships.

Tachimori admits that Subaru is much too small to be able to go at this development itself. In order to get the PHEV to market quickly, Subaru will use the Toyota Prius Prime’s system as a platform. The exec told Automotive News:

“For our plug-in hybrid to be introduced this year, we have used Toyota’s technologies as much as possible.

We can’t engage in a large-scale development.”

Interestingly, nonetheless, Subaru will still use its longitudinal “boxer” engine configuration, in tandem with the electric motor and battery pack. Whereas, the Prime has a traditionally mounted engine setup.

Currently, Subaru has no electric models available. Its Stella plug-in only sold a paltry 200 units for fleets and was discontinued in 2011. The automaker — like all others regardless of size — must comply with emissions requirements.

RELATED: Next-Gen Subaru WRX STI Likely To Be Plug-In Hybrid

2016 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

Subaru discontinued its only recent “green” efforts, the Crosstrek Hybrid, for the 2017 model year (Image Credit: Subaru)

At this time, Subaru has sent five engineers to be involved in the project. Tachimori’s hoping that Subaru’s involvement, even if minimal at this time, will help the collective group save funds and resources. He said the unidentified Subaru PHEV will be sold initially in CARB states and shipped to the U.S. from Japan.

ALSO READ: Subaru Chief Designer Says Automakers First EV Will Be Based Off Existing Car, Coming 2020

In terms of the BEV in 2021, Tachimori revealed that Subaru is currently in the initial stages of development and is not yet utilizing the partnership, though it’s likely that the group will be involved in the future. The exec concluded:

“Every carmaker has a sense of urgency. We don’t know how battery technology will evolve or how we should handle it or what would be the best way to use it as an energy source. Carmakers are still trying to figure out what a basic EV structure will look like.”

With the growing success of the Toyota Prius Prime, it will be exciting to have a similar offering from Subaru. The automaker prides itself on its standard all-wheel-drive system, high safety ratings, and EyeSight active safety technology. Pairing the electrification with Subaru’s boxer engine should prove interesting as well. Hopefully, the partnership also pushes Toyota and Mazda to move more quickly toward future BEV models.

Keep the conversation going in our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Source: AUTOWEEK via Automotive News

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18 responses to "Subaru PHEV to Launch In U.S. This Year, BEV In 2021"

  1. Toyota TRD says:

    The 4th gen Toyota Prius was the first vehicle to debut on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). It is a modular just like the MQB architecture from Volkswagen Group.

    Subaru has decided to use mostly Toyota engineering (TNGA) to get this new plugin hybrid to market as quickly as possible.

  2. mx says:

    Maybe Subaru has access to all Toyota Partners, and can get a Better Battery from the component supplier, then Toyota did with the Prime. Looking for a bright side here.

    1. JayTee says:

      What’s wrong with the battery in the Prime?

      1. Get Real says:

        Its to small, they put it in the trunk and compromised that space and took out the 5th seat.

  3. Spoonman. says:

    I thought PHEVs were about to become much less useful for CARB credits?

    It’s pretty frustrating to only sell these in CARB states. Even Honda has the Clarity PHEV in stock nationwide. Hopefully this vehicle has basic features like electric heat and preconditioning.

    Subaru certainly has a lot of loyalists, though, and perhaps this ill introduce EVs to a new market.

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      Your last comment, about appealing to other customers, is something I’ve been talking about for a long time. We can go on and on about how car A is a direct competitor to cars B and C because they’re the same general size and price and configuration (e.g. 4-door wagons), but it’s not that simple in the real world. Cars are one of the dwindling products where people have both brand and seller loyalty, as well as disloyalty. I live in a part of the US where we see a LOT of Subarus on the road, so that company bringing out a PHEV or BEV is a very big deal, and will sell to a lot of people who would never consider buying a Chevy, for example.

      As cars with plugs become much more widely available, we’ll see them from more companies and in more configurations — look at how often people here are openly pleading with GM to build a small SUV based on the Volt platform — and that will drive sales to people who want a specific kind of vehicle from only certain dealers or brands more than they want an EV. My wife and I had never owned a Nissan until we leased a Leaf, as we were long time Honda and Toyota customers. But a lot of car buyers won’t cross lines to a new (to them) brand and dealer just to a plug-in car.

      1. Spoonman. says:

        Which would make it even better if Subaru sold the thing nationwide! Hopefully they’ll find themselves with a surprise hit and expand the program.

        1. JayTee says:

          I’m sure they hope not. They’ll likely be selling it below cost not including the CARB incentive.

      2. VazzedUp says:

        Agree, I’ve been mentioning different EVs and PHEVs to my wife for some time, and the general response is, when the old car (Toyota, 16 years old) dies we can look at it. When I told here Subaru will have a PHEV Crosstrek or Forester, she was all ears, even though we already have a Crosstrek that is only 4 years young.
        Subaru better sell it in Colorado, as its their largest US market, and has its most loyal owners.

      3. Toyota TRD says:

        Two things:

        1. GM won’t make a small SUV plugin hybrid. They are making a compact CUV plugin hybrid. It will be called the Cadillac XT4 and debut at the New York Auto Show.

        2. Since you leased that Nissan Leaf, you have never been an owner of a Nissan.

        1. Nate says:

          Toyota TRD – most people do not pay cash up front for a new car day 1. They finance or lease. Those that go with traditional fianace options are no more owners than someone leasing. Dont believe me? See how long after not making a payment until the finance company reposseses. If you finance you do not hold the title until you payoff just like a lease. Most of the time if you finance you can payoff early and get the title with no prepayment penalty, but likewise with most leases you can buyout for what you owe too (except for unusual low volume compliance cars like a fit ev).

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      They are becoming less useful. But they have to go with what they can.

      2018: 4.5% max 2.5% TZEV
      2019: 7.0% max 3.0% TZEV
      2020: 9.5% max 3.5% TZEV
      2021: 12.0% max 4.0% TZEV

      Max credits per car:
      BEV 4 ZEV
      BEVx 1.3 ZEV
      PHEV 1.3 TZEV

      Manufacturers like Toyota have a bunch of old credits they can use or sell.

      But it’s worth remembering that with the various new cars coming to meet China, CARB and other mandates, the credit pool could grow fast enough to reduce the credit price.

      1. Niel says:

        This credit structure is for large manufacturers. Subaru will be an intermediate manufacturer in 2018. As such, they can meet their entire requirement with PHEVs only. The earliest subaru would be required by CA ZEV rules to build a BEV is 2023. If they have global revenue less than 40B then that date could be pushed back until 2025.

  4. God/Bacardi says:

    Subaru failed once with the Crosstrek hybrid, charging $4800 premium to gain 3mpg in the city only…They should expand offering hybrids to every model…

  5. bbb234234 says:

    I really hope Subaru succeeds in the EV space. Where I live, a Subaru is the perfect car. $20k for a brand new car with all wheel drive? Heck yes. I’d love for their to be reasonably priced (i.e. well under $30k) AWD EVs.

  6. Derek says:

    It should at least be AWD since Subaru’s come no other way. Outlander is AWD with 12kwh battery. It would be great if Subaru gave us a 16kwh battery PHEV but I doubt it.

    1. God/Bacardi says:

      They had the Crosstrek hybrid which was AWD…

    2. cmg186 says:

      Mostly true, however, the BRZ comes in RWD.

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