Subaru Plots Path to Electric Vehicles

The automaker hopes to use electrified drivetrains throughout its vehicle lineup by 2035 and cut overall emissions by 90% by 2050.

A recent announcement from Subaru reveals that it will be the latest automaker to commit to an electric vehicle future – and it won’t go it alone.

Subaru plans to harness Toyota’s more mature hybrid technology to get off the ground, and that’s because Toyota owns about a 9% stake in the brand. The partners are also working on a few joint projects, including some electrics expected sometime around the mid-2020s.

Subaru’s EV goal progresses further when it says that 40% or more of its vehicles will be driven by some sort of electrification by 2030. And by 2035, Subaru says that effort will apply to all vehicles in its lineup.

But let’s digest that carefully: Subaru is NOT saying there will be no gas in its lineup, just that at least some power for all its models will be electric – meaning Subaru will, at a minimum, offer an extensive line of hybrids. By 2050, however, Subaru says it will have slashed carbon emissions from its models by 90% or more.

In more excitement than the Subaru brand has ever had in one week, the carmaker also unveiled a new concept car that’s a fully electric crossover. Automotive News Europe described it as “a low-slung ride with a raked rear window, elongated cabin, digital sideview mirrors and short front and rear overhangs. The front fascia is aggressively creased, while the wheel wells get heavy black cladding that lends the tires a rugged, oversized look.”

Sounds cool, but on top of a drawn out timeline, Subaru makes it clear that it doesn’t prioritize the U.S. market for its EVs. CEO Tomomi Nakamura called the U.S. EV marker “really tough” and that “only Tesla’s EVs are selling well.” So maybe what feels like a commitment towards EVs is just as much an announcement that Subaru will also watch and wait for other automakers to take the first, and bigger, risks.

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