Quite a few automotive manufacturers are looking towards electrifying their lineup if they have not done so already and now Subaru is considering electric versions of their existing lineup.
The Japanese automaker was deciding on where to allocate their investments in research and development this financial year, be it in new models or the installation of pure electric powertrains in their already existing models.
From what CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said at Subaru headquarters in Tokyo, the company is looking to utilize the models they have instead of building a new EV from scratch. "If there's already an attractive Subaru model… 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. Providing the choice of an EV means the customer can still desire the same Subaru."
According to Automotive News, electrification will take priority over autonomous technologies as Subaru plans to release a plug-in hybrid next year and an electric only model by 2021.
Research and development in such a short time frame won’t come cheap, that’s why the company has set aside 134 billion yen ($1.2 billion) for research and development, which is expected to last until March 2018. Though we don’t know how much of that is set aside for the research and development of EVs.
One hurdle Subaru will need to overcome is their selection of suppliers for the batteries and motors with Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. among the possible candidates. They’ll need to find that balance between cost and quality. "We need to work with parts makers on joint development right from the start," said Yoshinaga. "If we don't, we won't be able to keep up in this era of rapid change."
Maybe the new 2017 Impreza could be Subaru’s first foray into the electric vehicle market.