Toyota/Subaru step up EV game: Stella electric four-seater on lease next year

While Honda is staying out of the electric game, Toyota and Subaru are pushing forward with their plans to offer battery-powered cars by 2010. Subaru says that it will start leasing a fleet of four-seat electric-cars as early as next year.

Both Toyota and Subaru will be ramping up their zero-emissions EV plans as rivals Nissan and Mitsubishi both plan on introducing their own electric-cars in 2010. Nissan is planning a fleet sale of an electric-car which it has not named yet and Mitsubishi will start selling its iMiEV in Japan followed by Europe and the U.S.

Toyota’s president Katsuaki Watanabe admits that with the limited performance of today’s lithium-ion batteries the range of electric cars will also be limited.

Masatami Takimoto, Toyota’s r&d chief said: “in the early stage of the 2010s, we would like to offer a compact, very small electric vehicle on a small-scale basis.”

Subaru’s four-seater electric-vehicle will be based on the Stella, currently a car sold in Japan with a 660cc engine. The plug-in Stella Concept runs on lithium-ion batteries allowing for a 50 mile range on a single charge which takes about eight hours.


Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)