Subaru has announced that its first production electric car, a mid-sized SUV, will be called the Solterra.
Due to go on sale in 2022, the new car is being developed as part of a wide-ranging joint project with Toyota, which unveiled its version, called the BZ4x concept, at the Shanghai motor show.
According to Subaru the name of its new EV was arrived at by fusing the Latin words for the sun and the earth, Sol and Terra. The name was chosen “to appreciate mother nature and further advance the form of coexistence with it, together with our customers, and to represent our commitment to deliver traditional Subaru SUV’s go-anywhere capabilities in an all-electric vehicle.”
Calling the car Solterra has wrong-footed Japanese media, which had predicted that the new model would be dubbed the Evoltis.
The Solterra will be built on a new platform developed as part of the collaboration between Subaru and Toyota, which has been designed for specifically for electric power. The versatile chassis will enable both brands to develop a varied range of EVs – cars of different lengths, with front, rear or all-wheel drive and with batteries of different sizes.
No other details of the new SUV have yet been revealed – however a silhouette ‘teaser image’ released suggests that it will take at least styling cues from an EV concept (pictured above) that Subaru revealed in January.
The Solterra will form the first major move towards Subaru’s announced intention for at least 40% of its global sales to be of electric or hybrid vehicles by 2030. So far the brand’s only unveiled moves towards electrification has been to add mild-hybrid versions to its existing Forester, Impreza and XV models. The Soterra will be similar in size to the existing Forester.
Subaru’s UK management hopes the Solterra will be an essential element of efforts to revive the brand – Subaru was one of the worst-hit manufacturers during the Covid-19 pandemic, selling fewer than 1,000 cars in the UK in 2020.