NEW: Get Updates by Email

Subaru Plans 8 EVs by 2028 – 4 From Partnership with Toyota

by | May 13, 2024

Subaru’s only EV, the Solterra, is a product of a joint venture with Toyota – and the Japanese automaker plans to take the same approach with its next three battery-electric vehicles, all due out by 2026. Then it plans to bring out four more, developed in-house, by 2028, its CEO said Monday.

Subaru Mobility Concept

The all-electric Subaru Mobility Concept made its debut at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show last November.

Subaru has been slow to embrace electrification, but it now plans to make up for lost time – with help from Toyota, which holds a 20% stake in the smaller Japanese manufacturer.

Subaru’s all-electric crossover, the Solterra, was the first product to come out of that partnership. There’ll be three more to follow by 2026, Atsushi Osaki, the automaker’s CEO, said during an earnings call on Monday morning.

That approach will help minimize the “huge risk for us to go it alone in this field,” said Osaki, adding that “We have held talks with Toyota and have agreed that it is better to reduce risks through joint development.”

Playing it safe

Both automakers have been EV skeptics. Toyota, in particular, prefers a “mixed” approach to reducing CO2 emissions, with hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs and even some hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Until now, Subaru has largely stuck with internal combustion technology, with only a small portfolio of hybrids and the Solterra launched two years ago.

2023 Subaru Solterra - with kayak

Subaru’s first EV, the Solterra, was the product of a joint venture with Toyota — which sells its version as the bZ4X.

The two companies recognize they face increasing pressure to expand their EV portfolios, however, as regulators around the world ramp up requirements for zero-emission vehicles. But the problem is that it remains unclear just how much – and how fast — the public will embrace EVs. Sales growth in the U.S. and some other key markets has slowed markedly over the past 12 months.

“At the moment,” said Osaki, “it is quite difficult to predict how things will go from here with EVs.”

The ramp up

The new plans will see Subaru’s EV program eventually strike out on its own. Even while it rolls out the next three models, the company will be working up four more all-electric vehicles developed in-house. They’re expected to reach production by 2028, Osaki indicated.

2023 Toyota bZ4X pair

Developed jointly with Subaru, the Toyota bZ4X is the Japanese giant’s only EV offered in the U.S. market right now.

The automaker didn’t reveal specific details about any of the seven models set to follow the Solterra to market by 2028, other than to indicate they would all by crossover-utility models.

All told, the Japanese brand expects to have enough capacity by that point to produce 400,000 EVs annually, according to trade publication Automotive News.

More Subaru News

More hybrids coming

Of the more than 850,000 vehicles Subaru delivered last year, Solterra generated just 14,000 sales – though the numbers were distorted by a several-month production hold due to a design defect.

2025 Subaru Forester front 3-4

Subaru’s new Forester will be offered with a hybrid drivetrain option.

Based on the carmaker’s current sales and anticipated growth, that would mean they likely will remain a marginal part of the Subaru line-up.

“While we have steered toward EV,” Osaki said, “we find it important to sell internal combustion products at the same time. So, we already have plans to expand our hybrid product lineup.”

The automaker previously confirmed it is developing a more advanced hybrid system that will be used on both the Crosstrek and Forester lines.

U.S. production is possible

If Solterra is any example of what’s to come, Subaru and Toyota will divide up the product development process. Each will focus on areas of expertise, such as the work on the development of the all-wheel-drive system the smaller automaker took on with their first joint effort.

Subaru CEO Atsushi Osaki

Subaru CEO Atsushi Osaki during an appearance at the 2023 LA Auto Show.

Toyota has handled manufacturing with Solterra and is expected to produce two of the three upcoming EVs due by 2026. But Subaru will pump out the third at its plant in Yajima. With at least one model, Toyota is planning to add a second manufacturing site in the U.S. That would offer potential financial advantages if the EV qualified for up to $7,500 in buyer tax incentives under the American Inflation Reduction Act.

That could be a significant plus considering the U.S. was the largest market for Solterra last year– even without those incentives – accounting for 8,872 deliveries, or 63% of the worldwide total.

Despite that possibility, Osaki was cautious when asked about whether Subaru might add U.S. production. “I have not said that we would do BEV production at our own plant in the U.S.,” he said. “As the market changes considerably, we will proceed while studying the situation carefully.”


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List is Live!
Get Updates by Email

Get on our list to receive the latest automotive news in your inbox!

Invalid email address
I would like to receive:
Give it a try. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Share This