Subaru PHEV Coming Later This Year, Will Use Prius Prime Technology

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.

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  • Six_Tymes

    “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.”

    That is Interesting.

    • Ken Lyns

      I like his no-BS approach. Globally, Toyota spends $1 million per hour average on powertrain development. Makes sense to re-use it as much as possible.

    • Bo Hanan

      Lets see how much damage Mazda does to them with AWD finding its way into their cars.

      • Craiggger

        Isnt mazda’s awd system top notch? In the reviews ive watched, praise is given to its always on approach (99-1) and its ability to calculate the situation 100x per second rather than 10x

        • Bo Hanan

          No doubt Mazda did its homework on AWD. I suspect it will pull sales from Subaru.

  • Ken Lyns

    It’ll be interesting to see how Subaru implements the electric motors relative to the AWD system.

    • Steven Sposato

      I was curious if it would be an awd set up too. That’s their differentiator but they have built non awd cars. I’d be upset if it was FWD though. Only reason I haven’t bought a plug in or ev is no affordable models have awd and I need that in New England.

    • Miknik

      Technically the Prius driver train is still an ICE with a gearbox (even if the inside is very different), so you could still lead it into a transfer case instead of the typical FWD differential, probably even longitudinally mounted, but definitely use a standard “Haldex” setup for traverse engines. Or, Subaru could add the electric rear motor form the RAV4 hybrid/NX300h, which would give it electric rear traction. Especially if using Toyota tech is not limited to the engine/battery setup, but they reuse the whole TNGA platform from the Prius….

  • Infinite1

    Interesting

  • dumblikeyou2

    If anything, it would be interesting to see if the electric power finally give the standard Impreza the needed kick in the butt that rectifies Subaru’s adequate power approach.

  • KareKakk

    …with frameless door windows and a design without any Toyota-employee involved.