Friday, 29 July 2022 12:55

Kiwi fave goes green

Written by  Mark Daniel
Subaru’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV) - the long-awaited Solterra all wheel drive SUV will be here early next year. Subaru’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV) - the long-awaited Solterra all wheel drive SUV will be here early next year.

A firm favourite of rural families and those seeking to get off the beaten track, Subaru has announced the introduction of its first battery electric vehicle (BEV) with the longawaited Solterra all wheel drive SUV confirmed for here in early 2023.

Named by combining the Latin words for sun and earth, Solterra is built on the new, all-electric vehicle architecture e-Subaru Global Platform.

Offering the same capability on any terrain as all other Subarus courtesy of the X-Mode AWD control system, a new Grip Control function enables the Solterra to run at a constant speed, while stabilising the vehicle, in tougher conditions.

Part of this evolution will include opening new production lines, with a target date for a mixed production line by 2025 and an EV-only production line at a new factory by 2027, requiring a $3.2 billion financial commitment over the next five years.

Utilising Subaru’s vast experience of AWD technology, the “electric journey” uses axle motors at the front and rear, plus power distribution and brake vectoring to maintain grip for each wheel, optimised to road conditions to assure stable traction on wet or slippery surfaces.

Size-wise the Solterra sits between the Forester and Outback.

The cockpit layout is simple with good visibility and ease-of-use. In the cabin, Solterra has a light and airy feel, plenty of leather and soft-touch materials, a 12.3-inch touch screen, wireless phone charging, and heated seats and steering wheel.

Subaru Solterra battery pack FBTW

The drivetrain features a 71.4kW battery pack.

High-capacity battery packs are mounted underfloor as part of the structure, delivering a low centre of gravity and high body strength and rigidity.

Although the final NZ models are yet to be confirmed, the drivetrain features a 71.4kW battery pack, guaranteed to delivery 90% efficiency after 10 years, to power front and rear axle 80kW synchronous motors, with an estimated driving range of around 460km.

Expect to see Subaru’s extensive Safety Suite that includes a 360-degree surround camera and a new safety exit alert feature, contributing to Subaru’s commitment of zero fatal road deaths by 2030.

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