Subaru files mystery ‘Solterra’ patent, likely EV


SUBARU could be on the cusp of debuting its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) if a patent filing with IP Australia is anything to go by, with the Japanese firm making no secret of its joint development of an EV for the European market with Toyota.

 

While Toyota has at least debuted its version – the bZ4X – and confirmed it for a local introduction in the second half of next year, Subaru is yet to even tease its version however the new patent filing in question suggests a debut could be just around the corner.

 

Originally filed on November 24 last year by Subaru Corporation, the application for the ‘Solterra’ nameplate under Class 12 (automobiles and structural parts and structural fittings therefor) was accepted on March 1, 2021, and is currently in the final stages of its registration.

 

Filed by Subaru Corporation as opposed to Subaru Australia, the local arm of the brand said it was not actually aware of the trademark application until GoAuto contacted the media department for comment with the origins and subject of the application still unclear.

 

“Subaru Corporation is the owner of this trademark, not Subaru Australia,” Subaru Australia national corporate affairs and public relations manager David Rowley said.

 

“We are not presently aware of the reason why Subaru Corporation has sought to register the trademark and they are not commenting further.”

 

Extra weight is added to these comments by an endorsement accompanying the application stipulating the term ‘Solterra’ has no English equivalent or translation, something Subaru Corporation reportedly wanted to be known.

 

While early reports identified the European market as the primary target for the Toyota-Subaru developed EV, last month’s reveal of the bZ4X came with the unexpected confirmation that it would also be coming to Australia, which aside from future protection of the nameplate, would explain why Subaru filed this particular trademark.

 

No concrete details have been revealed about the bZ4X other than the fact it will ride on a bespoke, modular EV platform and be roughly the size of the current model RAV4 – and therefore Forester.

 

Seven different ‘bZ’ models are earmarked to be underpinned by the new platform, opening the door for Subaru to launch more than one EV in the coming years.

 

At this stage Subaru Australia offers just two electrified models in our market; the XV and Forester with each featuring two hybrid variants.

 

Mr Rowley has spoken previously about Subaru Australia’s interest in securing the brand’s first EV for a local introduction if it was to be made available.

 

The all-paw brand has sold 13,525 new vehicles so far this year ending April to be up 47.7 per cent on the 9,159 it sold over the same period last year with the Forester once again proving the most popular model (5006).

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