Subaru to Draw From Partnerships on Electrification Efforts

We can expect a Subaru EV by 2021 and a plug-in hybrid even sooner.

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Subaru is a little behind on electrification. The short-lived Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid was a bit of a flop because it had a higher price tag and less cargo space than its traditional counterpart while only getting two more miles per gallon in its combined fuel economy rating. That’s been the only electrified Subaru available in the U.S. so far, but it looks like that’s about to change.

We already knew that Subaru had a plug-in hybrid in the works and was planning on unveiling an electric vehicle by 2021, but a new report in Automotive News gives some details on how Subaru plans to get electrified cars right this time. In order to get a PHEV to market quickly, Subaru is relying on its friend Toyota using existing technology. "For our plug-in hybrid to be introduced this year, we have used Toyota's technologies as much as possible," said Subaru Chief Technical Officer Takeshi Tachimori according to Automotive News.

Basically, Subaru will take the hybrid system from the Prius Prime and put it into one of its own models, but we don’t know which model that will be. It will initially only be sold in U.S. states with zero-emission vehicle regulations like California.

Subaru is part of a joint venture called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co. The co-op also consists of Toyota, which owns 17 percent of Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki, Daihatsu, Hino, and Denso.

"Every carmaker has a sense of urgency," Tachimori said. "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." That’s where the EV Common Architecture Spirit Co. comes into play. It will be very beneficial for smaller automakers like Subaru and Mazda to have shared technologies it wouldn’t normally have the research and development budget to develop itself.