Subaru teases its first electric car, NZ arrival not guaranteed

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Words: Matthew Hansen
12 May 2021

Subaru has given us the best look yet at its first fully electric car — an SUV it’s co-developed with Toyota — while also revealing the model’s name and other details.

The model is to be called the Solterra. That might sound a little close to ‘soul tearer’ to some, but is just a combination of the Latin words for ‘sun’ and ‘earth’. Sharing the same underpinnings as the Toyota bZ4X (unveiled last month in concept form), the Solterra will be similar in size to the Forester.

As with the Toyota, Subaru has not confirmed any range, power, or battery size figures. It has said, though, that the model will utilise an all-wheel drive system that it’s developed — keeping the brand’s AWD reputation alive into the electric age.

While there’s not a huge amount that can be gleaned from the images Subaru has published, the Solterra looks to be a little more mild in the styling department than its bZ4X cousin. The bonnet and front guards appear to be more sparse and the rear haunches less aggressive. The glasshouse, however, appears to be unchanged.

Along with the images, Subaru also confirmed that the model will be offered internationally, naming the US, Canada, Europe, China, and Japan as starters for the nameplate.

Whether the Solterra will come to New Zealand remains to be seen. In a statement Subaru New Zealand is positive about the new model, noting that it’s still in talks with Subaru Corporation about availability.

“We are thrilled that Subaru has announced its first electric vehicle, however we are still in discussions with Subaru Corporation about availability for the New Zealand market,” said Subaru New Zealand managing director Wallis Dumper.

“Future electric vehicle projects form part of ongoing dialogue between Subaru of New Zealand and the factory. The Solterra news will no doubt excite many of our customers who are looking forward to owning a Subaru electric vehicle, however currently there is no timeline to share.”

Despite New Zealand’s EV trajectory, the model is no guarantee for our market. Subaru Australia has already confirmed that the model will not be offered over the ditch.

“The Subaru factory in Japan confirms there is no timeline for the electric Solterra vehicle for Australia,” reads a statement a Subaru Australia spokesperson sent to CarAdvice. “However, future electric projects form part of ongoing dialogue between Subaru Australia and the factory.”

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