Subaru was late jumping on the electrification bandwagon but the company is gearing up to introduce a new plug-in hybrid in the United States later this year.
Set to become the brand’s first hybrid since the slow-selling Crosstrek variant was axed, the model will borrow heavily from Toyota which has a sizable stake in the automaker.
As Subaru chief technical officer Takeshi Tachimori explained to Automotive News, “For our plug-in hybrid to be introduced this year, we have used Toyota’s technologies as much as possible.” However, Tachimori confirmed the car will have a longitudinally-mounted Subaru engine instead of a transversely-mounted Toyota unit.
The model will be heavily influenced by the Toyota Prius Prime and this suggests the car could have an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. Since the Subaru model will use a unique engine, it’s hard to predict fuel economy numbers but the Prius Prime can travel up to 25 miles (40 km) on electricity alone.
There’s no word on which model will receive the plug-in hybrid powertrain but Tachimori confirmed the vehicle will be built in Japan and initially sold in states that follow California’s Zero Emission Vehicle program. This is includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon.
The decision to use Toyota’s technology comes out of necessity as Tachimori stated “We can’t engage in a large-scale development” because of their small size and limited resources.