Subaru considers electric car to meet upcoming emissions standards

As global emissions standards grow stricter, the electric motor is looking less like cutting-edge technology and more like a means of survival for carmakers.

Subaru may be the latest company to consider more robust electrification as a way to comply with new regulations.

“Electric vehicles are [effective] products to help cope with these new regulations,” Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries, said in an interview with The Japan News. The company hopes to make a decision by the end of the year.

Subaru previously experimented with small electric cars – including a battery-powered version of the Japanese-market R1 city car – leasing about 200 prototypes to industrial customers beginning in 2009. However, the company hasn’t made any serious effort to market an electric car to the public.

For years, Subaru has pitched its all-wheel drive cars and small crossovers as fuel-efficient alternatives to larger utility vehicles and, while that has proven an effective strategy in terms of sales, it may not be enough to satisfy regulations like the U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, which rises to 54.5 mpg in 2025.

Subaru currently offers the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, which couples a 13.4-horsepower electric motor to the standard Crosstrek’s 2.0-liter boxer-four and continuously-variable transmission (CVT).

The company’s next effort may be a bit more ambitious, although it may not be an all-electric car.

Subaru showed a pair of Viziv (short for “vision for innovation”) crossover concepts at the 2013 and 2014 Geneva Motor Shows, the latest featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain consisting of a 1.6-liter diesel boxer-four and CVT, teamed with three electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack.

It’s possible Subaru will put a version of the Viziv into production as a replacement for the aging Tribeca, perhaps with help from Toyota.

The hybrid-happy carmaker is Fuji Heavy’s top shareholder, and the two companies previously collaborated on the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S sports-car twins. In his Japan News interview, Fuji president Yoshinaga said his company also hopes to cooperate with Toyota on fuel-cell development.

If these projects work out, green could be as important a color for Subaru as rally blue.

Emerging Tech

Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device. In fact, it's a potential new medical treatment for eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Here's how it works.

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.

Thinking of driving for Uber? These cars are safe, comfy, and fuel-efficient

Uber is a viable means for making money on the side, but you won't earn much if all of your profits are going direct toward fuel and maintenance. Thankfully, these five cars are a perfect fit for those looking to shuttle passengers from…

Lyft’s new rewards program promises ride discounts and comfier cars

If you're always hopping in and out of a Lyft car, then you'll be pleased to hear that the ridesharing service is about to launch a rewards program. Perks include discounts on future trips and upgrades to comfier cars.

Study suggests autonomous cars could become red-light districts on wheels

Fully autonomous cars can change the way we commute, but they can also have a far-reaching impact on the tourism industry. Two researchers published a study that outlines how self-driving technology could create a new dimension in tourism.

VW will use Siri as the designated driver for its connected car party

Volkswagen of America added Apple's Siri to help drivers control and interact with their cars. Owners can customize voice commands to tell Siri to change access settings such as interior climate, vehicle lock status, and fuel checks.

Meet the born-again Ford Bronco that will soothe your ’90s nostalgia

Ford has confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in a few short years. While it's still very much a work in progress, this is what we expect from the Blue Oval's born-again off-roader.

Waymo will launch its commercial autonomous ridesharing service in December

Waymo will launch a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in December, according to a new report. As previously discussed by Waymo, the service will operate in specific areas around Phoenix, Arizona.

Quick! Someone petition Ferrari to make this luscious tribute to the F40

Ferrari looks toward the future as it designs hypercars like the LaFerrari. Designer Samir Sadikhov turned his eye toward the past to create a modern interpretation of the 1987 F40 without venturing into full retro territory.

BMW’s 2020 M340i will show off mix of tech and luxury at the Los Angeles show

The 2020 3 Series represents the seventh generation of BMW's bread-and-butter luxury sedan. Where previous generations emphasized the driving experience, the 2020 3 Series focuses more on tech than ever before.

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.

Lime’s first carsharing service motors into Seattle this week

Lime may be better known for its app-based bike and scooter rental services, but in Seattle, Washington this week it's launching its very first carsharing service, similar to Car2go and Zipcar.

Land Rover shows its artsy side by previewing the 2020 Range Rover Evoque

Land Rover made life-sized wire sculptures to preview the 2020 Range Rover Evoque. The all-new SUV will make its debut during a private event held in London on November 22, and deliveries will begin in 2019.