“Subaru always has been and will continue to be committed to safeguarding the natural environment that so many of our customers avidly enjoy. We will continue to make … [environmental] technologies a priority in our product development, manufacturing and business process.”
Chairman, President and CEO, Subaru of America, Inc.
The automobile industry faces two major issues related to fuel: Do something to help prevent global warming and reduce our reliance on fossil fuel. These simple charges have led Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. (FHI) and Subaru to channel millions of dollars into research and make significant advancements in technology – all aimed at building tomorrow’s clean-energy vehicles.
Today’s hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are means to an end. By combining electric motors with gasoline engines, automakers are taking steps toward all-electric vehicular power. One major obstacle in this effort is the current state of electrical storage systems and their inherent problems: They are expensive to build, and they do not provide the capacity needed to power vehicles for extended times and distances.
Subaru faces this challenge relying on its traditional strengths as an automaker. As it focuses on battery technology that incorporates low cost, large capacity and high efficiency, Subaru plans to infuse the values of safety, ecology and driving performance.
In September 2005, FHI and Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO) began joint development of an electric vehicle (EV). The two companies plan to spend approximately one year designing and manufacturing the new EV for commercial use, basing it on the Subaru R1e concept car. While TEPCO will determine the specifications for its business and services, FHI is responsible for developing and manufacturing 10 prototype vehicles. TEPCO will use them as part of its fleet, examine their performance and analyze their economic benefits.
FHI will use the information gathered from this joint effort to continue development of lighter-weight, lower-cost EVs.