It’s not to imply that Subaru was missing the boat on electric vehicles – after all, it offers a plug-in hybrid version of the Crosstrek – but it was becoming increasingly evident that Subaru, famed for its all-wheel drive and demonstrated durability, was nonetheless among the last major auto manufacturers yet to announce a fully electric vehicle. That’s finally changing, given Subaru’s disclosure this week that it will build a new electric SUV, the Solterra, in partnership with Toyota, which is currently doubled up with Subaru on producing the BRZ sport coupe. The Solterra – the name is an amalgam of the Latin for “sun” and “earth” – will be the first vehicle produced on the company’s equally new e-Subaru Global Platform, which, naturally, will be driving all four wheels. Toyota will provide the batteries and related propulsion technology.
One as-yet undisclosed element of the plan is any potential establishment of fast-charging stations at Subaru’s network of about 630 dealerships in the U.S. All Subaru products are already manufactured in zero-landfill assembly plant. Subaru’s major U.S. plant in Lafayette, Indiana, is the only auto assembly facility in the United States designated as a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The Solterra is scheduled to reach showrooms in the U.S., Canada, China, Europe and Japan in 2022.