The 2023 Subaru Solterra electric compact SUV is selling in moderate numbers, and for Subaru Corporation's first battery electric model, it's doing okay but could be much better. A new report from Automotive News says the Solterra could get a complete redesign sooner than expected.
There could be significant changes coming to the 2023 Subaru Solterra EV.
A recent report from Automotive News (by subscription) says, "After a rough launch, Subaru's first EV (the Solterra) will be due for a freshen in 2026 under the brand's regular product-cycle cadence, but that change may also include a re-engineering.”
The report says, "Subaru may intervene sooner to address some of the Solterra's initial teething pains, including a ho-hum battery range. That product decision would depend on Toyota's plans for the bZ4X."
What is the problem with the Solterra?
The Solterra needs more range, so Subaru may give the EV a complete overhaul sooner than expected. A Subaru SUV typically gets a remodel after five years, but the Solterra needs to be competitive in its range. The Solterra must be more efficient to compete with all the new EVs from other automakers.
How many miles can a Subaru Solterra go on a charge? The Solterra's StarDrive electric powertrain has an estimated range of over 220 miles (about 222-228-mile range) with standard Symmetrical all-wheel drive. The Solterra does not come with a front-wheel-drive configuration, which would give it more range.
But one of Subaru's core values is all-wheel-drive and all-weather performance. The Solterra also comes with X-Mode for extreme weather capabilities. Subaru won't drop all-wheel-drive from the remodeled Solterra.
Subaru must re-engineer the Solterra's electric motor capabilities and give it more range. They will rely on Toyota's new battery technology they are developing now.
Subaru said it would source the electric EV batteries for the new vehicles through its alliance with partner Toyota Motor, which owns 20 percent of Subaru Corporation.
Subaru will have access to Toyota's technology and tap into the automaker's extensive resources for its new battery technology that could have 900 miles of range or more, according to a recent report from Automotive News.
The Solterra will be the first of many new Subaru EVs.
New Subaru CEO Atsushi Osaki announced the new ramped-up EV plan and that more electric models are coming to U.S. customers. The Japanese automaker wants to get half its global volume, an estimated 600,000 units, from full-electric models in 2030.
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Osaki said the shift in demand for EVs has been faster than Subaru expected, especially over the last year. He noted that Subaru customers in the U.S. are environmentally conscious and increasingly receptive to EVs. A sizable number of Subaru drivers also own a Tesla, the Subaru CEO said in the report.
Torque News reported recently that a new Subaru electric 3-Row SUV will soon be produced in the U.S. at Toyota's plant in Kentucky. The Automotive News report says Toyota will build an all-new 3-Row electric SUV in 2025 in Kentucky for Subaru shortly after it starts making its version, which is tentatively called the bZ5X.
Subaru Corporation is also deciding soon whether to build a new U.S. plant to produce all its new EVs. A new plant in the U.S. could become the favored location for seven new Subaru electric vehicles coming by 2028.
"The time to make a decision is coming close," Osaki said, without saying whether the company was considering building a new factory or adding to or revamping existing production lines at its plant in Indiana.
In addition to new EVs from Subaru Corporation built in the U.S., the Solterra could get a complete remodel sooner than expected. Subaru is not standing on the sidelines any longer. Sweeping changes are coming.
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Denis Flierl brings over thirty years of combined auto industry and automotive journalism experience to Torque News readers. He is an accredited Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) member. The last twelve years have been spent with Torque News, covering Subaru vehicles and the latest news. Check back daily for his expert Subaru analysis. You'll find the latest stories on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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