10 Years After Releasing 1st EV, Subaru Unveiling New PHEV At LA Auto Show

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Subaru hasn’t been a major player in the world of electric vehicles (EV) since it first offered its STELLA in Japan a decade ago. This week, it announced it will unveil its first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) at the LA Auto Show. CleanTechnica will be there to see it up close and report back on the details.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid LA Auto Show

Some automakers definitely leave you scratching your head. Subaru is one of them. The carmaker has been lauded for its carbon-neutral factory in the US, yet in the midst of an EV revolution only has a hybrid in its portfolio. What you might not remember is that the company even beat the almighty Nissan to market with the first modern commercial EV — the STELLA, released in 2009 in Japan.

The Crosstrek Hybrid will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show next week, where we will take a closer look at the vehicle. The company says it will use its new StarDrive technology, which rests on its 2-liter direct-injection Boxer engine coupled with two electric motors. It will also use its famous Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and it is introducing a new Lineartronic CVT.

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid LA Auto ShowSubaru Crosstrek Hybrid LA Auto Show

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, Much Ado About A PHEV?

To put this news into perspective, Subaru is not a car company that can afford to come up with new cars and disruptive technologies every three years. It can’t afford endless splashy and lavish press releases either. Toyota has a 20% share, which helped the company produce its BRZ and Toyota’s rebadged version.

Subaru has been slow to electrify since its initial attempt, only putting a hybrid drivetrain in its Crosstrek a few years ago after other companies had long been offering hybrids. While the hybrid Crosstrek hasn’t won over the world, the company hopes its PHEV variant will — maybe. Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International writes: “The Crosstrek Hybrid will be built on Subaru’s Global Platform, and will be available to retailers toward the end of 2018. The Los Angeles Auto Show runs November 30 to December 9, 2018.”

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid LA Auto Show

Technically, the new Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid uses one electric motor to get the car going and to accelerate. The platform can run in series and parallel mode, meaning the electric motor can be powered by the internal combustion engine (ICE) or as a generator for the battery pack. The other electric motor is used in hybrid and all-electric driving mode. Its lithium-ion battery is located below the cargo area, which we assume will take away from its cargo volume. The Crosstrek Hybrid makes use of regenerative braking to recharge the battery pack when braking, as is 100% logical.

The electric top speed of the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid will be limited to 65 mph (105 km/h). Its EV range will be 17 miles (27 km). The total range should be 480 miles (770 km).

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid LA Auto ShowSubaru Crosstrek Hybrid LA Auto Show

The Subaru press release adds more information. The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid has an estimate 90 MPGe fuel economy, for those of you who still follow that oddity of that system.

It will come with the company’s EyeSight Driver Assist technology as standard. This includes a Pre-Collision Braking and Throttle Management; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Departure and Sway Warning; and Lane Keep Assist. For the first time in a Subaru vehicle, a Driver Assist Indicator has been installed at the top of the combination meter to increase the visibility of EyeSight status or other warnings. The price announced is $34,995 plus $975 for destination and delivery.

The Crosstrek Hybrid comes standard with the Linerartronic CVT, which features its X-MODE and Hill Descent Control for enhanced performance in low-friction and off-road conditions. Subaru claims the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid is the most efficient version of the versatile compact SUV ever.

We look forward to seeing up close Subaru’s first PHEV at the LA Auto Show 2018 next week. My first question will be why the company is calling a PHEV a hybrid when it already offers a regular hybrid. I may not get an answer to that question.

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Nicolas Zart

Nicolas was born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, but it wasn't until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Ever since he has produced green mobility content on various CleanTech outlets since 2007 and found his home on CleanTechnica. He grew up in an international environment and his communication passion led to cover electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. His favorite taglines are: "There are more solutions than obstacles." and "Yesterday's Future Now"

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