Toyota and Subaru to collaborate on electric cars

New platform set to underpin electric family SUV from both brands first

Toyota Subaru platform

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.


Toyota BEVs

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.