Toyota and Subaru to collaborate on electric cars
Japanese car manufacturers Toyota and Subaru have announced that they are collaborating to develop an electric-car platform. A Nissan Qashqai-sized family SUV, to be sold under each brand, is set to be the first model launched.
In a joint statement, 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 Volkswagen Group and the PSA Group, 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, and gradually introduce them to Japan, India, the US and Europe, with 10 pure-electric models being available worldwide by the early 2020s.
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, and Subaru led the development of the rear-wheel-drive sports car sold as the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86. The companies have had a collaboration agreement in place since 2005.
Until now, both 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 will also shortly be launching 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.