Subaru will add first EV production line
Unlike the Solterra, the EVs produced in the latter half of this decade will be manufactured directly by Subaru.
The Solterra, which shares a Toyota-developed EV platform with the Toyota bZ4X, is made at Toyota’s Motomachi assembly plant on the same line as the sibling nameplate.
Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura outlined the plans on Thursday while announcing fiscal year earnings.
Subaru will begin making its own EVs in mixed production with internal combustion vehicles at its Yajima plant in Japan in the mid-2020s. From about 2027, Subaru will build a dedicated EV factory on the site of its Oizumi plant, which now makes engines and transmission.
The EVs made there will be exported globally to markets including the U.S., Nakamura said. Subaru is still contemplating what kind of segment or models the upcoming EVs will be, he added.
Nakamura also declined to offer a production capacity figure for the new EV production facility but said it will start off small with room to expand over time.
Nakamura said the market for EVs has radically changed in just the last year. Even U.S. dealers are starting to clamor for battery electric cars, especially after experiencing the upcoming Solterra.
“Two or three years ago, U.S. retailers were not asking about EVs at all,” Nakamura said.
“But in this last year, it’s suddenly increased.”
Around mid-decade, Subaru will also introduce next-generation hybrid models based on gasoline-electric powertrains provided by Toyota, which owns a 20 percent stake in Subaru.
Subaru will brand its hybrid offerings e-Boxers, in a nod to its horizontally opposed engines.
Subaru said it will invest 250 billion yen ($2.05 billion) over the next five year in the hybrid and EVs initiatives. Subaru wants at least 40 percent of its global sales to come from hybrids and pure EVs by 2030. And in the early 2030s, Subaru plans to electrify all new vehicles sold worldwide.
The Solterra, which went on sale May 12 in Japan, will also be sold in the U.S., Canada, Europe and China. It is the badge-sharing stablemate of the bZ4X and a spitting image of the Toyota, from the oversized wheel cladding and beveled back fender to the funky wraparound taillight motif.