SUBARU has unveiled the latest model to spring from its e-Subaru Global Platform – jointly developed with Toyota – in the shape of the all-electric Solterra SUV that combines the brand’s famed all-wheel drive technology with a driving range of up to 530km (WLTC).
The Solterra forms part of Subaru’s commitment to apply electrification technologies to all vehicles produced and sold by the company between now and the first half of the 2030.
Although the Solterra has not yet been confirmed for the Australian market, Subaru Australia general manager Blair Read says it is definitely on the radar.
“The Solterra heralds a new era for the Subaru brand and its global reveal stirs great anticipation and excitement as we see the next expression of Subaru Corporation’s commitment to electrification,” said Mr Read.
“Whilst Subaru Corporation is yet to confirm a timeline for the Solterra in Australia, we are working very closely and future electric projects form part of ongoing dialogue between Subaru Australia and the factory.
In developing the brand’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV), Subaru said it aimed to exceed customer expectations making a vehicle that is both practical and can be used with “peace of mind”.
As well as a generous driving range, the Solterra promises decent performance, with a single front motor putting 150kW down or its dual 80kW electric motors providing a combined system output of 160kW.
Power is supplied by a 355-volt lithium-ion battery pack located beneath the floor providing 71.4kWh of storage.
It may be charged by an included 6.6kWh AC charger or via a high-speed 150kW DC unit. The Solterra is also available with a solar panel roof to provide additional charge to the on-board battery.
Measuring 4690mm in length, 1860mm in width, and 1650mm in height, the Subaru Solterra rides on a 2850mm wheelbase its maker says allows up to 1940mm of cabin length.
In a first for Subaru, the five-seat model offers a Peugeot-style low steering wheel and top-mounted instruments visible above it.
Subaru says the design contributes to a feeling of spaciousness but has yet to provide seating dimensions or cargo capacity for its battery-powered SUV. By way of reference the related Toyota bZ4X offers 452 litres of cargo space in five-seat mode and to window height.
Japanese specifications for the Solterra show the model to be fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels on front-wheel drive models and a choice of 18- or 20-inch alloys on all-wheel drive models, suggesting at least two trim grades will be available.
The model rides on a traditional strut front/double wishbone rear suspension arrangement and is fitted with electrically assisted rack and pinion steering. Braking is handled by discs on all four wheels.
Subaru has provided the Solterra with a modicum of off-road ability, all-wheel drive variants including the brand’s X-Mode AWD technology and at least 210mm of ground clearance.
The Solterra is mechanically related to the Toyota bZ4X and will likewise compete with models including the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Tesla Model Y.
Like the Subaru, pricing for the Toyota variant has yet to be confirmed, though curiously the Solterra offers greater range than its twin-under-the-skin, Toyota stating a maximum driving range of 500km for the bZ4X.
Toyota will release its bZ4X in selected markets from mid next year and in Australia towards the end of 2022.
Similarly, the launch of the Subaru Solterra will begin in the middle of 2022 for markets including Canada, China, Europe, Japan, and the United States.