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An All-New Subaru 3-Row EV, Will It Electrify You?

Subaru of America will soon have its first American-made electric SUV, a three-row EV. It could be here next year. Here are the new details. Are you ready?

Subaru goes bigger, but is it better?

Subaru is making significant strides in its electric vehicle plans, particularly through its collaboration with Toyota. The 2024 Subaru Solterra 2-Row electric SUV, a joint venture with Toyota and built in Japan by Toyota Motor, was just the beginning. A new 3-Row Subaru EV is in the works, hopefully marking a promising continuation of this partnership. 

Subaru of America is going bigger and will have a new 3-Row all-electric SUV built in America. This marks a significant shift in U.S. manufacturing, as it's another collaboration with Toyota Motor, and this time, it's going to be built on U.S. soil in Georgetown, Kentucky. I first reported on the new EV in August in my story here.

A new report from Automotive News (by subscription) says, "A major project is underway at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, the giant assembly plant in Georgetown, where the Japanese automaker is investing $1.3 billion to build a line for battery pack assemblies for two new electric vehicles, due to arrive in 2025, and only one of which will be its own."

AN says one of the coming three-row electric crossovers is expected to be a production version of the Toyota bZ5X 3-Row concept that Chairman Akio Toyoda showed in Tokyo in December 2021.

Subaru's first 3-Row EV

The other will be a similar-sized EV to be retailed by Subaru of America. The report says that, according to Toyota North American CEO Ted Ogawa, who told Automotive News earlier this year, some of the workflows at the plant are being reconfigured this year to make room for the new EVs.

It is not a new electric Ascent family hauler.

The new EV will not be an electric version of the Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUV, which is now being sold to its U.S. customers. It's an all-new model. The name and other details of Subaru's 3-Row electric SUV have yet to be announced, though the Japanese automaker said in May that it planned four battery-powered SUVs in its lineup by 2026.

This new Subaru 3-Row EV is set to arrive as soon as next year and is expected to receive its batteries from the Toyota plant under construction in Liberty, N.C., scheduled to begin production in 2025.

Another EV joint venture.

I've been critical of Subaru for making another EV that will be nearly identical to its Toyota counterpart. I've said Subaru should distance itself and build its unique brand of electric SUVs. There are other things to consider. 

Subaru, as a smaller automaker, is leveraging Toyota's vast resources and manufacturing facilities to develop its first new 3-Row electric model. This strategic collaboration is about risk mitigation and unlocking new possibilities for Subaru in the electric vehicle market. 

Subaru is being cautious.

President and COO of Subaru Corporation, Atsushi Osaki, said Subaru was still considering its approach. "As a matter of course, we have been collaborating with Toyota on BEVs for a long time," Osaki said. "So, we will make use of that know-how in producing BEVs. We have yet to consider whether the two companies will jointly manufacture BEVs in the U.S."

Last year, Osaki announced the new accelerated EV plan. Osaki said Subaru will expand its EV lineup to eight models. Subaru increased the number based on an earlier envisioned plan of four new EV models. 

The new EV goals are significantly ramping up from Subaru's previous electrification plan. 

Does Subaru need another 3-Row SUV?

My question is, can Subaru support another 3-Row SUV? Despite the success of the Ascent 3-Row SUV, there are potential challenges that Subaru might face in launching a new model. I recently covered the Ascent 3-Row SUVs' June sales drop you can read here. Subaru of America is selling about as many Ascent family haulers as its U.S. retailers can sell. 

The Solterra EV is not selling as well as expected. SOA has resorted to offering special financing and incentives to move the new 2-Row Solterra off retailers' lots, which is different from what Subaru likes to do. 

The new 3-Row EV is not just a new addition to its lineup but a potential game-changer. This upcoming model redefines Subaru's presence in the electric vehicle market, sparking curiosity and anticipation among automotive enthusiasts. The most important question remains. 

Will it create great excitement among Subaru's customers?

Subaru will undoubtedly add a new electric 3-Row SUV built in Kentucky by Toyota for U.S. customers by 2025. Will it electrify you?

Now it's your turn.

How likely are you to buy a new Subaru 3-Row battery-electric SUV in the future? Click the red Add New Comment link below and let us know.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Subaru

Comments

Clay (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 1:18PM

I would never own an all electric vehicle. Maybe a hybrid Outback. I don’t think all electric is going to go well. I believe Subaru is smart and letting Toyota absorb most of cost and risk.

John Todd (not verified)    July 8, 2024 - 10:47PM

Our family car is a 2021 Outback which has just begun to have battery discharge problems. At first I thought I was due to lift gate not closing properly but now I’ve come across the battery drain problem being experienced by many other owners.
We took a hard look at the Solterra before these battery problems arose but were disappointed at the smaller size of the all electric Subaru. Now I read that SOA is planning a 3 row model. Hoping it was a rear window wiper which the Solterra is sadly missing.
But I’m still reeling from the way SOA has responded to battery issues. I will be calling our dealer tomorrow to inquire about our own battery drain problems. Could this be the end of Subaru? I can honestly say that if our problem is not addressed satisfactorily it will be the end of our relationship with Subaru.

. And this is our 2nd Outback!

bob ellis (not verified)    July 10, 2024 - 6:28PM

In reply to by John Todd (not verified)

You should take a look at the 2025 MINI Countryman SE ALL4. This is a fully electric AWD vehicle that is comparable to the Crosstrek in size. This is the vehicle that Subaru should have made.

Jay (not verified)    July 9, 2024 - 10:24PM

Currently have an Ascent Onyx 22 and love it. An all electric EV would not interest me at this time. The infustructer for charging would put a damper on our long road trips. Recently completed a 2200 mile road trip from RI to Buffalo, upstate NY, VT and NH. Gas mileage average when completed was 25.5 mpg, not bad at all.

bob ellis (not verified)    July 10, 2024 - 6:35PM

I originally ordered a Solterra, but cancelled my order when the wheel-falling-off recall was issued; instead I bought an electric MINI Cooper. I love this car.

Instead of going big, Subaru should return to its roots and produce an electric 360. This is a funky 2-door small car that has doors that hinge at the back of the door instead of the front.

I wonder what all of the auto companies are going to do when Trump, with help from Congress, cancels the Inflation Reduction Act? Will the manufacturers cancel plans for bringing manufacturing jobs to the southern right-to-work states?