Subaru is the latest automaker to reveal plans for a battery-electric vehicle — the Solterra — slated to his streets next year.
A new vehicle means finding a new name. Solterra is the merger of “the Latin words for ‘Sun’ and ‘Earth’ to represent Subaru’s commitment to deliver traditional SUV capabilities in an environmentally responsible package,” the company said in a statement.
The new vehicle will go on sale — pricing was not revealed — in the U.S., Canada, China, Europe and Japan in 2022, the company noted. No real information was detailed regarding size, range, etc., other than it was an SUV, which points us in a direction.
The new vehicle, which is being produced on what the Japanese automaker calls its all-new e-Subaru Global Platform, is the result of a joint venture with Toyota. The partnership is described as taking Subaru’s all-wheel-drive technology expertise and combining it with Toyota’s electrification proficiency.
Subaru’s newest SUV
The Solterra, based on its shadowy picture, certainly fits in with the rest of the brand’s line-up for highly capable crossover utility vehicles. While difficult to make out any real details from the photo, it’s likely similar in size to the Crosstrek, which is one the brand’s best sellers.
The company’s been teasing an all-electric model for years. Initially it was a vehicle named the Subaru Viziv concept. It showed up at several auto shows for a period of time with tweaks to ensure progress was being made toward a production vehicle of some sort.
That vehicle was ultimately the Crosstrek plug-in hybrid.
However, it followed that with the Evoltis, a name the automaker registered in several markets, including the U.S. Again, it was a project it developed jointly with Toyota. Looking at the renderings from Subaru, it certainly looks like a close sibling to the new Solterra.
It also looks much like Toyota’s concept vehicle the bZ4X Concept recently shown at the Shanghai Motor Show last month. During its introduction, Toyota officials noted it was developed in partnership with Subaru.
Toyota didn’t say much about the concept either, on that its part of the new Beyond Zero family and that the “X” in the name meant it is a crossover. Since crossovers are Subaru’s bread-and-butter, it makes sense the concept is exactly that.
According to Toyota, the concept rides on a version of the newly developed e-TNGA architecture specifically dedicated to battery-electric vehicles. Could e-Subaru be the same architecture, just with a Subaru-branded name? It’s certainly possible, especially when looking at pictures of the Toyota concept and the shadowy pic of the Solterra.
It likely opts for the now common approach of mounting batteries, motors and other electrical components under the load floor in a skateboard-like platform.
The concept goes with a long-wheelbase design and minimal overhangs — just like the Solterra. That approach helps free up the area that would normally be used for an engine compartment, “resulting in a distinctive design with ample interior space.”
Plenty of sharing
The two companies enjoy an established history of shared vehicles and technologies, including the development and sales of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ in 2012.
Toyota also aided in the development of the plug-in hybrid powertrain for the aforementioned Subaru Crosstrek. The two sides confirmed plans to build a BEV-platform for midsize and large passenger vehicles in June 2019, the Solterra may be the first product resulting from those efforts.
While it may have some Toyota characteristics, Subaru was quick to remind that it’s still just that — a Subaru.
Subaru engineers worked to bring together the brand’s all-wheel drive capability, superior driving dynamics and world leading passive safety in a versatile, dedicated EV platform, the company said in a release.
The result is a technologically advanced full-electric SUV that is also a truly capable and durable Subaru SUV. The Solterra joins Subaru’s award-winning line-up of SUVs, including the Outback, Forester, Crosstrek and Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid.