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Subaru premiered its first All-Electric Solterra, developed with Toyota

Japan’s automaker Subaru Corp (7270.T) premiered its first all-electric vehicle (EV) named Solterra in a press conference today. It is developed on “e-Subaru Global platform” in a two-year joint development project with Toyota Motors Corp which is its biggest shareholder. The model will be available in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China and Japan by July 2022 along with Toyota’s new released vehicle bZ4X.

Both models are dedicated to the Battery Electronic Vehicles (BEV) as there is a need for such vehicles because of the high rate of carbon emissions in regular vehicles which is causing environmental degradation.

The launch of the new Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) needed a large scale technological shift which is a big challenge for small carmakers like Subaru as it is very expensive. So it was helpful for it to tighten alliances with bigger rivals like Toyota to ride out the once-in-a-lifetime shift to EVs. At the same time, it was beneficial to top-tier automaker, Toyota as it drew small rivals closer.

Subaru Chief Executive Officer Tomomi Nakamura stated about their conjuction, “We hope to use the alliance to build up technology and know-how until the world fully shifts toward battery electric cars”. He added, “Eventually BEVs will be an area to compete with other automakers, including Toyota.”

Toyota, the biggest automaker by production volume got a bit late to enter the full EV market despite being a pioneet of hybrid electric cars. It is planning to line up of 15 BEV models by 2025 and along with this it will also spend $13.5 billion I the next decade to expand auto battery production capacity. Toyota also owns a fifth of Subaru which is why it led the development of Solterra. Solterra is a front-wheel drive with a cruising range of 530 km while the all-wheel drive version of it will be able to drive 460 km after getting charged once.

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