Subaru R1E

The Subaru R1e is a battery-electric microcar undergoing development and testing.The car was jointly developed with Tokyo Electric Power, the giant Japanese utility company. Currently 10 prototypes have been built and are undergoing testing by Tokyo Electric Power, which plans to eventually operate 3,000 of the vehicles starting in 2008. The vehicle has a range of 50 miles (80 km) and a top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h).

The prototype is a two-door, two seat vehicle based upon the Subaru R1 gasoline vehicle. This vehicle has received intense interest from electric vehicle fans owing to its modern battery technology, appropriate size, and potential performance attributes. It also has the same grille as the 1st generation Subaru Tribeca.

The car uses a lithium-ion battery which was developed in cooperation with NEC and can be recharged to 80% capacity in eight minutes using a special rapid charger, or to 100% charge in eight hours on a standard 100 V plug. Battery life is at least 10 years or 144,000-plus miles (240,000 km). Tokyo Electric Power company plans on producing 150 fast-charge stations.

Some Features:

  • Laminated lithium-ion batteries
  • 240 VAC conductive charging
  • It is a two-seater

Another electric prototype car, the G4e, is a follow-up to the R1e with an improved battery, range, and bolder styling.

Here’s why I want us to target Subaru:

They have proven themselves in a niche market here in the U.S. and the EV market is still perceived as only niche by auto makers. Subaru only sells five cars in the U.S. and have positioned themselves well as doing something no one else does and being the exclusive go-to company when consumers know what they want, e.g. all-wheel drive standard on every vehicle.

Subaru has been field testing a fleet of R1e battery electric cars for some time now in Japan and had previously indicated that they want to have an electric car in production by 2010. It now looks like 2009 is the time frame for the start of production, at least in limited quantities. Following an initial run of about 100 units the first year, Subaru wants to ramp up production to help drive down battery costs. Subaru is targeting a price of $17,500 by 2012-13. Within a few years after that the company wants EVs to be available for the equivalent of about $13,000.

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