By on January 7, 2008 reports that the brand best known for symmetrical all-wheel drive and seemingly endless aesthetic affronts is set to launch the R1e electric vehicle (EV). Subie developed the EV version of its brand faithfully ugly R1 in conjunction with the Tokyo Electric Power Company. "Its battery pack affords the car a small-ish range of 50 miles, but the car can be recharged to 80-percent capacity in just eight minutes. A full charge takes about six hours." Never mind the range; EV supporters reckon most in-city journeys are less than 40 miles. Feel the longevity! "Despite the low range, Subaru says that the car has a lifespan of 120,000 miles or ten years." So not only can you go nowhere slowly, but you can do so for a long, long time. In terms of production numbers, Automobile goes for passively constructed English understatement. "Subaru isn't being overly optimistic about the EV's take-rate either, so for its first year only 100 units will be produced." But here's the real news: "To help promote electric vehicles, the Japanese government has agreed to slash the car tax and sales tax by a whopping 90-percent, and will allow the car to park in public areas and travel on toll routes at a reduced rate." What was that commentator Stu was saying about the Japanese government encouraging long term investment? 

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12 Comments on “Subaru Set to Launch Electric Vehicle...”

  • avatar “, Tesla has been producing and selling a full electric vehicle for some time now …”

    That statement makes it sound like you can actually buy and drive a Tesla right now. AIUI, you can put down a deposit, but that’s about it.

    Last night on CBS’ Amazing Race 12, the stage winners won a pair of EVs (obviously not Teslas):

    “For their win, the duo each received an electric vehicle that seats four, is environmentally safe and is perfect for getting around town.”

    I was perplexed that announcer Phil never even mentioned the manufacturer’s name. Why not plug the product? (KixStart: GEM has a pretty good lineup of NEVs. My city uses them for mail delivery and tourist taxis.)

  • avatar

    As a faithful TAR-watcher, I was similarly perplexed when Phil didn’t name the manufacturer. I hope TAR isn’t going to inflict a Zebra on these people but I can’t think of any other production EVs right now.

  • avatar

    aerodynamic, government subsidized, golf cart.

  • avatar

    It looks like the juvenile offspring of a Prius and the pre-face-lift Tribeca with it’s iconic airborne grille.

  • avatar

    It’s a big computer mouse with wheels. The roof looks clickable.

  • avatar

    Looks quite cool methinks. Born from foos, lol.

    So the 50 mile range is the big obstacle to mainstream use. How about shoehorning in one of those lil’ Fiat style 1 liter 4 cylinder engines and making this no go electric a more accessible hybrid that charges the battery off the engine when it’s running low?

    That’d be useful basic transport, not for the performance aficionados, but for the masses. And the masses need wheels too.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    50 miles per charge? What a joke…I’d rather just give Lance a “Powersauce” bar and have him pull me in a rickshaw. That’s good for like 200 KM per day…150 if lance doesn’t flick his headlight generator down onto the wheel.

  • avatar

    If they can make these things low cost so that it could be a second vehicle for a person, then it could have a chance. But, if you can afford two cars then your gasoline car is probably fairly new and thus depreciating every day even if you don’t drive it; might as well enjoy the gasoline one while the fuel is cheap (in the US at least).

  • avatar

    I could drive between work and home twice on one charge, if it has a 50 mile range…in Japan where it’s unlikely you’ll be driving any sort of long distance, this could be a very practical solution, especially if it can charge up to 80% in just a few minutes. Considering the car taxes there, I don’t see why this would be a feasible urban solution.

  • avatar

    in Japan where it’s unlikely you’ll be driving any sort of long distance

    Actually I’ve heard of some very long commutes in Japan because so many things are centralized to Tokyo.

  • avatar


    I think you’re being unnecessarily harsh re. the styling. I think that Zapatinas may have penned this one first. It is a tight little package with some great folds and interesting creases.

    Unfortunately, as the design concept was stretched in size per the B9s mission of delivering more humans it got bigger and less attractive.

    Such, I am afraid, is life.


  • avatar

    Actually I could use this little thing. I barely put 50 miles a week on my motorcycle commuting to work and running minor errands around town. As a second vehical in a small town or for a college student (again in a small town) this could be very practical only having to charge it maybe twice a week. Of course cost would probably put it out of college students price range and the looks would have to be improved, looks like a toy mouse for cats to play with. Aside from the space I think I would prefer my bike though, much more fun and 60 mpg.

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