Subaru’s electrification offensive will kick into high gear in 2021

The path Subaru will take towards electrification is beginning to look clearer. The offensive will begin next year, and it will reach its cruising altitude by 2021.

The company’s first plug-in hybrid model will go on sale in the United States before the end of next year, according to the Japan Times. There’s no word yet on which model(s) will receive the brand-new drivetrain, but we predict it will be the 2018 Ascent crossover scheduled to make its debut at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

Here’s why: The Ascent will be the biggest Subaru to date, with enough space for up to seven passengers, so it will need a considerable amount of power to move forward. Using the Outback’s 3.6-liter flat-six would be utterly counterintuitive in an era where “downsizing” appears several times in every automaker’s product plan. The Forester XT‘s turbocharged, 250-horsepower flat-four is an option but engineers can only bump its output so far. The WRX STI’s sharp, 300-horsepower engine is ill-suited to family-hauling duties, so odds are the extra power will come from an electric motor. The crossover body style lends itself well to the extra hardware (and weight) needed to create a gasoline-electric car.

Other models — including the Outback and, possibly, the Forester — will receive the drivetrain, too. They’ll all be capable of driving on electricity alone for short distances, a new trick for Subaru. Its previous hybrid model, the last-generation Crosstrek, relied on its gasoline-burning engine at all times.

Full electrification will arrive in 2021, still according to the Japan Times. The newspaper learned Subaru will begin by electrifying existing models like the Outback, the Forester, and even the smaller Impreza. They’ll retain all-wheel drive in a bid to lure existing owners into showrooms. Production will take place in Japan.

Developing a battery-electric powertrain is an expensive enterprise, especially for a brand like Subaru which remains relatively small in spite of its seemingly infinite streak of sales records. To that end, company officials could decide to join Toyota and Mazda in a recently formed, yet-unnamed joint venture that aims, among other goals, to bring electric technology to the masses in a cost-effective way.

Finally, Subaru will stop making its turbodiesel flat-four around 2020, and for good reasons. The brand only sells diesel-powered cars in Europe, where its footprint is small to the point of near-invisibility, and in Australia, which was never a huge diesel market to begin with.


Unrestrained by heritage, Polestar sets its sights on becoming a digital brand

With no heritage to worry about, Polestar is free to move full-speed ahead towards its goal of becoming a digital brand. All of the company's upcoming models will be electric, and they will inaugurate an Android-powered infotainment system.

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford posted an enigmatic picture of a blue Mustang emblem on a black background right as Tesla prepared to introduce the Model Y. Is the Blue Oval teasing a hybrid Mustang, or is it previewing a Mustang-inspired, battery-powered crossover?

Adventurous and electric, Porsche’s second station wagon will arrive in 2020

The Mission E Cross Turismo concept Porsche unveiled during the 2018 Geneva Auto Show will morph into a production model tentatively named Taycan Cross Turismo. This 600-horsepower electric station wagon will arrive in showrooms by 2021.

Can electric cars be S3XY? Tesla says yes with the new Model Y crossover

Tesla introduced a crossover named Model Y at its design studio in Los Angeles. It's a more spacious alternative to the Model 3 it shares 75 percent of its parts with, and is a smaller sibling to the Model X.
Product Review

The Nissan Rogue is smart, handsome, and practical. What’s not to love?

Year after year, Nissan’s Rogue compact crossover is a consistent best-seller, outpacing Honda’s CR-V, and even Toyota’s mighty RAV4. We looked for the reasons why people love the 2019 Nissan Rogue, and found them.

Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.

Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.