April 2008

Subaru evaluates electric car

Subaru announced that it would begin evaluating its R1e electric vehicle (EV) in the United States this summer.

The Subaru R1e can be quick-charged in just 15 minutes.

Based on the Subaru R1 minicar sold in Japan, the R1e was developed by Subaru in partnership with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.

The utility has been testing R1e electric cars since 2006. As part of a U.S. test program, two Subaru R1e electric cars will join the New York Power Authority fleet.

“This partnership with the New York Power Authority is further demonstration of Subaru's ongoing efforts in applying electric car technology in real world situations. Along with our newly introduced diesel powered cars, electric cars are a viable response to our need to improve fuel consumption and carbon output,” said Tim Mahoney, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Subaru of America, Inc. “The R1e electrical vehicles are designed for city dwellers looking for an environmentally friendly and fun-to-drive alternative to gas powered cars.”

The Subaru R1e employs state-of-the-art, fast-charge lithium ion battery technology that eliminates typical lithium ion battery issues of charge memory loss, allowing partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life. The two-seat Subaru R1e is capable of driving at speeds up to 65 mph with a range of up to 50 miles, making it an ideal urban commuter.

The Subaru R1e can be “quick-charged” to 80 percent capacity in only 15 minutes. The vehicle can be fully charged overnight (eight hours) while connected to a standard household electrical outlet. The R1e uses an AC permanent magnet synchronized motor producing 40 kW.

Service life for the high-density lithium-ion battery is estimated at 10 years and 100,000 miles, another environmental benefit of Subaru technology. The battery pack is also designed to be easily recycled. The laminated battery packs are flat, rather than cylindrical, offering EV manufacturers wide latitude in vehicle design and packaging. The battery's basic design and composition consists of laminate, manganese and lithium ion.