Japanese Subaru unveiled its first fully electric vehicle (EV), the Solterra, on Thursday, the result of a two-year joint development project with its largest shareholder, Toyota.
The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) launch comes amid increasing demand for electric vehicles as nations around the world tighten environmental regulations to reduce CO2 emissions. Toyota announced its version of a battery electric vehicle (BEV), the bZ4X, last month.
The technological shift away from internal combustion engines poses a challenge for smaller automakers like Subaru that are less able to finance the expensive development of electric vehicles. At the same time, it is an opportunity for top-tier automakers like Toyota to pull smaller rivals closer.
Toyota, a pioneer in hybrid electric cars but late in the electric vehicle market, has plans for a range of 15 BEV models by 2025. The company is also spending $ 13.5 billion (approximately Rs.1.00.657 billion) over the next decade to expand its automotive battery production capacity.
Subaru’s vehicle sales are less than a tenth of those of Toyota, the world’s largest automaker by volume.
The front-wheel drive Solterra has a range of 530 km (329 miles) while the all-wheel drive version can travel 460 km on a single charge, Subaru said in a press release.
Toyota owns a fifth of Subaru and has a 5 percent stake in Mazda, which plans to bring 13 electrified vehicles to market by 2025, including hybrids and BEVs with Toyota technology.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
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