Subaru plans to only sell electric cars by the 2030s

Japanese automaker Subaru has confirmed that its entire range of cars will be going electric. The manufacturer says that the full transition will be complete by the mid-2030s.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek
Subaru says it will only sell electric cars by the mid-2030s. Photo: Subaru

Yesterday Subaru took a massive step by announcing it will be producing electric cars only by the mid-2030s.

Compared to other car manufacturers, Subaru, which is best known for its legendary WRC cars, all-wheel drive and the sound of its distinctive boxer engines, has set the bar high.

The transition towards an all-electric line up will be a gradual process, as opposed to an immediate switch.

Subaru says that by 2030, it expects 40% of its vehicles sold worldwide to be either fully-electric or hybrid.

How will Subaru transition from the boxer engine to electric power?

One of the main selling points of Subaru’s cars has always been the boxer engine. The pistons in this specific type of engine lay flat, as opposed to vertical or diagonal, as in straight or ‘V’ engines.

Subaru’s boxer engines are known for their characteristic burble, and a low centre of gravity which aids handling.

A transition towards electric vehicles will rob the brand of one of its key marketing features. But Subaru is aware of this, and still willing to make the change.

Subaru already produces a few hybrid vehicles, but they are either plug-in hybrid vehicles or what are known in the industry as ‘mild hybrid’ vehicles.

To make fully-electric and ‘strong hybrid’ vehicles, Subaru will be taking help from another Japanese automaker which pioneered hybrid vehicle technology.

Petter Solberg driving his Subaru Impreza WRC at the 2005 Cyprus Rally.
Subaru is best known for its rugged all-wheel drive cars, like the Imprezza, which has won the World Rally Championship multiple times. Photo: Leonid Mamchenkov via Flickr

Toyota has a wealth of experience producing best-selling hybrid vehicles. Back in September Toyota also announced it would be increasing its stake in Subaru from 17% to more than 20%.

With the help of Toyota, the world’s largest and most valuable car manufacturer, Subaru is set up well to begin its transition toward an all-electric line up.

Despite the influence of Toyota, Subaru says it wants to make electric vehicles which stay true its brand heritage.

“Although we’re using Toyota technology, we want to make hybrids that are distinctly Subaru,” said Subaru’s Chief Technology Officer, Tetsuo Onuki.

What are other car manufacturers’ plans for electric vehicles?

Subaru is by no means the only car manufacturer with grand plans for an electric future. While its pledge to go fully-electric by the mid-2030s is among the most ambitious, other manufacturers have already outlined their own individual approaches towards EVs.

Back in October, Volvo unveiled its first fully-electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, which will go on sale in the US in the autumn. Volvo is reasonably small as far as car manufacturers come, but it’s said that by 2025 it will reduce the carbon emissions of its entire production process by 25%.

XC40 Recharge P8 AWD in 729 Glacier Silver with roof in contrast colour 019 Black Stone and 20” 5-Double Spoke Black Diamond Cut Alloy Wheel 1133
Other car manufacturers, like Volvo, have their own ambitious plans for cutting carbon emissions. Photo: Volvo

Meanwhile, Volkswagen has set itself the target of becoming the world’s number one electric vehicle producer by 2025.

Fellow German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has its own ambitious plans for an EV future, aiming for half of its car sales to be electric by 2030.

Tesla, on the other hand, currently stands head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to EV sales. Its all-electric vehicle range got a significant head start on mainstream manufacturers, but the brand’s dominance likely won’t last forever.

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