By on June 6, 2019

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

This is what handing 16.8 percent of your company’s ownership to another automaker gets you. Just days after BMW and Jaguar Land Rover announced an electric powertrain agreement, Subaru and Toyota claim a new, shared electric vehicle platform is on the way, as well as a jointly developed crossover.

The effort will mean Subaru — a brand with only a single (Toyota-assisted) plug-in hybrid on the market — will finally have the means to enter the growing EV field.

Not only will the two companies develop a new platform, they’ll also jointly develop a new compact electric utility vehicle, selling it under both brands. Think of it as a greener, more spacious BRZ/86.

The platform itself would serve to underpin a range of CUVs and passenger cars positioned in the C and D segments, with each company bringing something desirable to the table, Toyota claims.

“By combining their respective strengths, such as the all-wheel-drive technologies that Subaru has cultivated over many years and the vehicle electrification technologies that Toyota is employing to bring together other companies that share its aspirations, the two companies intend to take up the challenge of creating attractive products with appeal that only BEVs can offer,” the automaker said in a public release.

Despite its growing volume, Subaru doesn’t have the necessary funds to go it alone on the EV front. Or the hybrid front, for that matter. Last year’s introduction of a plug-in Crosstrek was a product of Toyota’s significant stake in the company and Subaru’s resulting ability to utilize its partner’s technology.

Partnerships, of course, are all the rage today — a solution to spiraling development costs necessitated by emerging technologies and ever more stringent emissions requirements. Both Toyota and Subaru felt that, in order to compete, they needed to create a business model that went “beyond convention.”

In a statement tacked on to Toyota’s release, Subaru said, “Following this agreement with Toyota, Subaru will now shift its existing BEV development resources to this new joint project. Within this new framework, Subaru will continue its efforts to create an attractive BEV SUV for our customers, while improving efficiencies in terms of engineering, development, purchasing, and other areas through the new joint project.”

The announcement came with no timeline attached.

[Image: Subaru]

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21 Comments on “Thanks, Toyota: Subaru to Gain an Electric Crossover, EV Platform...”

  • avatar

    Subaru, with the undeserved, upward sales trajectory and reputation, not planning nor having the necessary funds for this says a lot about the problems at Subaru. Too bad Subaru can’t charge their customers for this, like their endless engineered mistakes.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Please show us on the doll where the mean Subaruist touched you. How about some facts to back up your claims.

      I’m surprised Subaru didn’t tap into Toyota’s hybrid/EV toolbox earlier. A plug-in and/or hybrid Forrester and Outback would fly off the shelves. The Subaru crowd has been clamoring for this for a while.

      Interesting they’re looking at a whole new platform to share, but my gut feeling is that the boxer engine family won’t be part of that platform….

      • 0 avatar

        Dave has been living under a rock apparently and didn’t know about Subaru’s head gasket problems that affected pretty much all of their models for about 10 years.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t know what was the worst, Subaru’s head gasket problems, Honda’s transmission failures, or Toyota’s engine sludging.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          And how long ago was that?

        • 0 avatar

          bts – head gasket issues from several years ago. How far should we go back to complain about various vehicles with former problem areas? There are vehicles other than Subaru I believe that had issues 10 or more years ago, some I personally experienced that also had head gasket issues (Toyota Celica’s from ’89 to ’92, three of which I and my kids owned). I can think of more than a few other things while living here on top of a rock.

      • 0 avatar

        Too much to list, so I’ll just post this:

        Excerpts from the Car and Driver, Long Term Test, 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI: “When it comes to evaluating cars, there’s often a very fine line between love and hate.” “It’s been a mere 5500 miles since our last update on the STI, and unfortunately, nearly all those miles have been plagued by engine issues. Our poor little hatch has been to the dealer some eight times with nary a solution yet to be found.” “Our initial love for the STI faded with every trip to the dealer.” “Further, the quick parts and tire wear and massive mechanical failures were enough to drive us batty. If this were our personal car, we can’t even begin to imagine how upset we’d be.” New transmission, new oxygen sensor, new ECU, new engine, new NAV system, new evaporative canister, recall on ECU, … all in the first 40,000 miles.

        • 0 avatar

          Transmission replaced under warranty and wasnt a problem again. Oxygen sensor was not faulty. ECU was faulty and caused the engine replacement, again replaced under warranty. NAV system was replaced with Alpine unit. NOT Subarus problem. Evap was replaced under warranty. ECU was reflashed, not untypical of any car company. So by all accounts yes, not perfection by any means but all was taken care of by WARRANTY. Also, 2008? Really? Bit of a stretch there.

          • 0 avatar

            My friend’s teenage son has a 2018 WRX with 11,000 miles. They didn’t let the dealer talk them into the ECU reflash that voids the warranty and that is pushed on every WRX and STI customer I’ve talked to. When the ECU and VVT control valves went bad, Subaru first claimed it was the result of the reflash. When that didn’t work because Subaru had failed to sell it to void the warranty, they suggested it must be lack of maintenance on a several month old car that actually had oil changes performed with the correct oil and filter twice as often as required by Subaru. Sure, Subaru paid for the repair. Kicking and screaming and with zero prospect for my friend ever buying another.

            There is no greater disconnect between perception and reality than exists between Subaru fans and the objects of their fetish.

          • 0 avatar

            The_Guru: Speak to Car and Driver about it for details

            How can anyone believe in a car or brand when it fails so much, so terribly, under warranty?

            And then there are the stories of my six Subarus over the years, and all the cash lost.

          • 0 avatar

            The_Guru – good luck getting C&D to respond to an 11 year old review (ha-ha!). It does appear, unlike Honda, that Subaru performed warranty work just as they did for the son of ToddAtlasF1’s friend. “Sure, Subaru paid for the repair. Kicking and screaming” but they indeed paid. By the way, which manufacturers gladly and unquestioningly perform warranty work on high performance vehicles operated by teenage males? Further, which manufacturers gladly and unquestioningly perform warranty work period? I had a new short block FB25 installed 25k miles ago with NO arguement (read: unquestioningly) due to 12 oz / 1200 miles oil consumption and the use of a new loaner vehicle for the day of the work. The manufacturer honoring the warranty was – wait for it – Subaru. Note that mine is a first-person account of a warranty issue and not a second- or third-person account regarding a warranty issue with a teenager’s high performance vehicle which, I am sure, was driven at the posted speed limits within the rpm limits of the drivetrain and all shifts were cleanly and expertly made up and down through the gearset without burnout clutch dumping.

  • avatar

    In the context of E.V.s, Subaru’s All Wheel Drive technologies are a really inefficient way to get power to all four wheels, compared to having two motors.

    • 0 avatar

      Or compared to having 4 motors.

      Electrification is going to make it really difficult for companies to have a car with “character” that’s more than cosmetic.

      Sure, they can tune the handling, but ultimately you will see the same electric motors showing up in multiple brands, and even if you don’t… could you tell the difference?

      • 0 avatar

        Sounds very true, I think it’ll come down to the design of the platform for ride and space utilization, safety, driving aids, and charging/range.

      • 0 avatar

        @garrett: We’re already seeing a difference in different brands motors. Tesla’s Halbach Array motors are giving them an edge in efficiency over the “Tesla killers”. Then there’s Rimac’s (partially owned by Porsche) all-wheel torque vectoring. I also suspect we’ll see ultracapacitors added to improve regen. The next Model S is rumored to have 3 motors.

        I think we’re going to have more choices vs. the fossil car world that seems to be descending into a world of CVT’s and turbo 4s.

  • avatar

    Subaru and Toyota have multiple hook ups.
    Some day they ll wed, i predict.

  • avatar

    EV schmee-V.

    I’d much rather see a hybrid Outback and Forester.

    (I agree that 993 has an excellent point about AWD sysetms.

    And one that a … hybrid would also allow!)

  • avatar

    Subaru hybrids haven’t exactly been flying off the dealer lots, apparently dog loving lesbians just aren’t into those green technologies.

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