When will Subaru reveal its first hybrid model?
We've heard plenty of rumors that the next Subaru WRX STI could switch to a hybrid drivetrain. This is a bit suprising because Subaru doesn't have a single hybrid model in the US after the Crosstrek Hybrid was discontinued. Automotive News reports that Subaru is eager to get back in the hybrid game, but will have to rely on outside help. The company does have an in-house electrification project, but it will first rely on help from Toyota, Mazda, Suzuki, Daihatsu and Hino to pump out some hybrid vehicles.
Subaru has an upcoming plug-in hybrid model that could be released later this year. Subaru's chief technical officer, Takeshi Tachimori, says that the plug-in model will borrow from the Toyota Prius Prime. "For our plug-in hybrid to be introduced this year, we have used Toyota's technologies as much as possible," Tachimori said. Subaru has made plenty of changes to the drivetrain, so this won't just be a Prius with a Subaru badge. For starters, Subaru will use its own longitudinally-mounted engine instead of Toyota's transversally-mounted unit. Subaru has to use Toyota's technology because it is still too small to develop it on its own.
Despite strong sales, Subaru still doesn't have the ability to build hybrids alone. "We can't engage in a large-scale development," Tachimor said. Subaru's R&D budget is about one tenth the size of Toyota's. Toyota still owns 17% of Subaru, so it only makes sense that the two companies come together for this project. We have seen that Toyota and Subaru can do great things, like build an affordable sports car for the masses. Subaru's new plug-in model will help the company meet emissions regulations. We have no details on what model the plug-in will be based on, but we should find out later this year.