Subaru Will Add Electric Cars To Its Lineup


Subaru and Mazda are like twin sons of different mothers. Both are small players in the auto business who have carved out a niche of devoted followers by doing a few things really well. Both are happy to play at the margins while the big boys fight over the middle. Over the years, Subaru has gained a reputation for building reliable cars that offer a high degree of occupant safety. But to keep up with changes in the marketplace, particularly in China, it needs to add electric cars to its offerings.

subaru electric cars

To make that happen, the company’s CEO, Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, told the press last week that his company will focus first on adding electric motors to its current models rather than creating a separate electric car division as Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz are doing. “If there’s already an attractive Subaru model, for example the XV crossover, and if a customer in Beijing wants one but is only allowed to buy an electric vehicle, if there’s no electric version then he can’t buy it,” Yoshinaga said. “Providing the choice of an EV means the customer can still desire the same Subaru.”


Subaru will invest $1.2 billion in research and development during the next 12 months, most of it aimed at getting a plug-in hybrid version of one of more of its cars into production by the end of 2018. Suppliers like GKN are already building complete EV powertrain components to speed the adoption of electric vehicle technology in the global marketplace and eliminate the need for each manufacture to design, test, and build its own hardware.

General Motors used to have a large stake in Subaru, but sold its shares some years ago to Toyota, which is also behind the curve when it comes to offering electric cars to its customers. It is likely some cross fertilization will take place between the two companies as each seeks to get in on the electric car future. Toyota will invest almost $9 billion in its research and development program in the coming year.

Yoshinaga also said his company expects to have a battery electric car to sell to customers by the beginning of the next decade. He did not indicate whether the BEV Subaru would be an entirely new model or based on an existing car in the company’s lineup. Building a car designed from Day One for electric power is the preferred approach, but developing completely new models takes about 5 years. Subaru may not have time to wait, as it is already late to the cars with plugs party.

Source: Bloomberg



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I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • Epicurus

    “if a customer in Beijing wants one but is only allowed to buy an electric vehicle, if there’s no electric version then he can’t buy it”

    The best thing that could happen for EVs would be for China to outlaw the sale of any new car which is not a BEV or PHEV, starting say, 1/1/18.

    • Steve Hanley

      They are getting serious pushback on their plan to require 8% of new cars to be electric. Even a government as potent as China’s cannot mandate people to buy cars they don’t want. But China is moving the goal posts, no question about that, although may not as rapidly as they might like.

      • Epicurus

        On second thought, a 100% requirement would be impractical since there aren’t enough batteries now to make every car a plug-in.

        If a BEV or PHEV is the only type of car available, I think people would be happy to buy them (especially the latter) if they are plentiful and priced right.

        What’s the time frame for the 8%?

        • Steve Hanley

          I forget the precise date. Think it was 2020. Very similar to the CARB mandate timetable. Manufacturers say they can’t do it. Not entirely sure where things stand as the moment.

          • WebUserAtLarge

            Those that can’t or won’t do it will be loosing their market share, eventually, to those that will.

            Just like Ford that currently has no new models planned for release until 2018 due to spending too much time and money on F150 R&D is loosing market share to GM in many ICE segments because GM does have new/refreshed models, those manufacturers that will not have viable EVs in their line ups will be loosing out to those that have.

            After that it’s an uphill battle for the losers as the consumers will be acquiring new brand loyalties.