Subaru Evoltis name on the cards for electric SUV
Toyota and Subaru are working on a new electric car platform designed to underpin a range of family cars from both brands. Reports online suggest the first of these could launch as soon as next year.
Last year, the two brands announced they were collaborating on a new electric car platform. The first model to launch will be a Nissan Qashqai-sized family SUV, and while there is no news on what Toyota may call the car, Subaru looks to be targeting the ‘Evoltis’ name for its first pure-electric model.
As Toyota appears busy readying itself to launch a separate Yaris-based hybrid crossover, Subaru has already shown a concept car that points towards a production version of its joint-venture SUV. The unnamed concept car was shown in January, and its angular styling gives us a hint towards the future of Subaru design.
While technical details are scarce, we expect both the Toyota and Subaru SUVs to offer a range of around 310 miles (500km). There is no information on power or battery size, nor whether multiple variants, specifications or trims will be offered.
In a joint statement issued last year, the two brands said they would be combining their respective strengths, including Subaru's expertise with four-wheel drive and Toyota's experience with hybrids and electrification, in order to "take up the challenge of creating attractive products with appeal that only [electric cars] can offer."
The statement added that this agreement "represents a new area of collaboration that especially focuses on the urgent need to respond to [the requirement for] electrified powertrains and components."
As is the case with electric-car platforms developed by the likes of the Volkswagen Group and PSA, the platform being pursued by Toyota and Subaru will be capable of underpinning a wide variety of models, including an executive saloon and a larger SUV in the future.
Toyota has said it plans to start mass-producing electric cars in China in 2020 – though this is likely to be pushed back somewhat due to current lockdown measures. After launching in China, the company will gradually introduce them to Japan, India, the US and Europe, with 10 pure-electric models being available worldwide within the next few years.
It's promising to take a "co-operative stance" and work together with various other companies and partners to drive electrification. Its electric-vehicle strategy includes 'ultra-compact' vehicles like personal and mobility scooters, as well as electric cars adapted to the needs of various global markets and the development of high-performance batteries.
This isn't the first time Subaru and Toyota have worked together; Toyota owns a stake in Subaru's parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, a connection which lead to the development of the rear-wheel-drive Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86. The companies have had a collaboration agreement in place since 2005.
Aside from this, the two brands have concentrated largely on hybrid technology (what Toyota calls a 'self-charging' setup). Toyota contributed to the development of the Crosstrek, a plug-in hybrid SUV model that Subaru sells in the US.
Subaru has recently launched an 'e-Boxer' hybrid version of its distinctive internal-combustion engine. The brand says that from now on, all of its pure-electrification efforts will be focused on the Toyota collaboration.
It’s possible the brands may issue further images or concept cars this year, before using the 2021 Tokyo Motor Show to reveal the two production-ready electric models.