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November 11, 2021

Subaru's First EV Has A Solar Panel Roof And A Funky Dashboard

Just a couple of weeks after Toyota showed off its first dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV), the bZ4X, Subaru has done the same with the 2023 Solterra.

Co-developed from the ground up with shareholder Toyota, the Solterra differs from its Toyota twin thanks to its hexagonal grille as well as unique head- and taillight treatments.

Underneath though, it’s pretty much the bZ4X down to the use of the e-Subaru Global Platform (Toyota calls it e-Toyota New Global Architecture). The Solterra will, in Japan at least, be offered in both front- and all-wheel drive platforms. The front-wheel drive version has 204 horsepower (150 kW), while the all-wheel drive version has 217 horsepower (160 kW) with 108 horsepower (80 kw) going to each axle. Connected to a 71.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, it has a maximum cruising range of up to 530 kilometers based on WLTC standard.

Optionally, the Solterra, like the bZ4X, can be equipped with a solar roof panel that can generate electricity equivalent of up to 1,800 kilometers of driving distance per year.

Despite the availability of front-wheel drive, Subaru is really focusing on the all-wheel drive variant. They say that the Solterra is able to fully utilize the grip of all four wheels. This is down to the electric motors being able to precisely distribute torque between the front and rear wheels. Moreover, the X-MODE AWD is upgraded with a new Grip Control function that further enhances both on- and off-road stability.

The Forester-sized EV is also differentiated by its unique interior treatment compared to the Toyota bZ4X. The black-and-brown color scheme gives it a more outdoorsy feel, while still lending it a more high-tech ambience. A massive upright digital display dominates the dashboard, while the steering wheel is low and the instrument panel located above the steering wheel—a first for Subaru.

The Solterra will be launched in the middle of 2022 as a 2023 model in several markets such as Japan, the United States, Europe, and China.

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