Subaru's Electric SUV Beats Toyota in the Race to Market
Subaru's Electric SUV Beats Toyota in the Race to Market

Subaru’s Electric SUV Beats Toyota in the Race to Market

August 30, 2023

The Early Bird: Subaru’s Strategic Move

In a surprising turn of events, Subaru is set to outpace Toyota in introducing their first electric SUV, the Solterra. Developed in collaboration, both brands had initially aimed to challenge Tesla’s Model Y earlier this year. However, production delays have pushed Toyota’s bZ4X launch to next year, giving Subaru a head start. This development has sparked curiosity among automotive enthusiasts and potential buyers alike, as they eagerly await what Subaru has to offer.

The Solterra’s early arrival could be a strategic move by Subaru to capture a significant market share before Toyota enters the scene. With the electric vehicle (EV) market growing exponentially, being first can offer a considerable advantage. Subaru seems to be leveraging this opportunity to set the stage for its future electric models.

What Sets the Subaru Solterra Apart

The Solterra is not just another electric SUV; it’s a statement from Subaru. With twin 80kW motors and a 72.8kWh battery, the vehicle offers a total output of 160kW. The most striking feature? A claimed range of about 540 kilometres, making it a strong contender in the electric vehicle market. This impressive range could be a game-changer, as it addresses one of the most significant concerns for potential EV buyers: range anxiety.

The Solterra comes with Subaru’s standard all-wheel-drive system, setting it apart from Toyota’s bZ4X, which offers all-wheel drive as an option. This feature makes the Solterra not just an electric vehicle but a versatile SUV capable of off-road adventures. Subaru seems to have perfected the blend of sustainability and performance in the Solterra.

The Price Tag: Value Over Cost

Priced at $44,995 in the United States, the Solterra undercuts the cheapest Tesla Model Y by less than $2,000. In Australia, it’s expected to be priced below $70,000 drive-away, offering a “total value proposition” against competitors like the BYD Atto 3 and MG ZS EV. This competitive pricing strategy could make the Solterra a popular choice among consumers looking for an affordable yet feature-rich electric SUV.

Subaru Australia’s boss, Blair Read, has emphasised that the brand aims to offer a “total value proposition” rather than just focusing on low pricing. This approach suggests that Subaru is looking to provide a well-rounded package that includes not just the vehicle but also after-sales service, charging solutions, and possibly even software updates. It’s a holistic approach aimed at ensuring customer satisfaction in the long run.

Charging Solutions: Preparing for the Future

Subaru is leaving no stone unturned in preparing for the Solterra’s arrival. Charging points are being installed at dealerships, ensuring that the infrastructure is ready for the influx of electric models from the brand. This move is a clear indication of Subaru’s commitment to making electric mobility accessible and convenient for its customers.

The brand is likely to collaborate with existing charging networks to offer more extensive charging options. This strategy will not only make it easier for Solterra owners to find a charging point but also alleviate concerns about the availability of charging infrastructure, which is often a significant barrier to EV adoption.

Beyond the Solterra: Subaru’s Electric Ambitions

Subaru has hinted at the possibility of introducing high-performance electric models from their STI department. “While we don’t have STI in the current generation, the workshop is not closed,” says Subaru Australia boss Blair Read. This indicates that Subaru has a lot more to offer in the electric vehicle segment, and we can expect more exciting models in the future.

Blair Read’s statement also opens the door for speculation about what these high-performance electric models might entail. Could we see an electric sports car or perhaps a high-performance electric SUV? Whatever the case, it’s clear that Subaru’s STI engineers are busy working on future products, and electric vehicle enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra the same?
    • No, while they share some hardware, they are distinct models. Subaru’s Solterra comes with standard all-wheel drive, whereas Toyota’s bZ4X offers it as an option.
  • What is the Toyota equivalent of the Subaru Solterra?
    • The Toyota equivalent is the bZ4X, which is expected to hit the market next year.
  • How much is a Toyota bZ4X compared to a Subaru Solterra?
    • The Solterra starts at $44,995 in the U.S., while the bZ4X starts at $43,215. However, Subaru aims to offer a “total value proposition,” making it more than just a price comparison.
  • Is Subaru Solterra made by Toyota?
    • The Solterra was developed in collaboration with Toyota but is a Subaru model. It represents Subaru’s vision for the future of electric vehicles.

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