Subaru Teases Brand's First All-Electric SUV

The 2023 Subaru Solterra SUV, whose name combines the Latin words for “Sun” and “Earth,” is the Japanese automaker's first all-electric vehicle and will feature Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. (Subaru)

Subaru has revealed new images and details of the brand's first all-electric SUV, the 2023 Solterra. The automaker has confirmed the battery-powered compact crossover will offer the brand's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) as a standard feature.

The Solterra gets its new age-sounding name by combining the Latin words for "sun" and "earth." The automaker calls it the "most technologically advanced Subaru ever."

At a time when many car companies are forming partnerships around e-mobility efforts, the Solterra serves as an example of such collaboration. The new crossover is built on an all-electric vehicle architecture that Subaru has been co-developing with Toyota. Subaru's version is known as e-Subaru Global Platform (e-SGP), while Toyota's underpinnings are branded as e-Toyota New Global Architecture (e-TNGA).

As such, the Solterra will share a connection to the production version of the Toyota bZ4X concept car. The two vehicles have been undergoing design and development processes alongside one another. Both models' overall aesthetics and engineering will expectedly be similar, much like the two brands' collaboration around the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86. Other future offerings from both automakers will share the e-SGP/e-TNGA architecture.

Although no specs are available, the Solterra will likely be the size of the Subaru Forester crossover. Along with AWD, Subaru claims the Solterra will have "plenty of ground clearance" to help deliver the brand's adventurous, go-anywhere spirit.

Based on the new photos, exterior elements include an expansive glass roof, C-shaped taillights, and an understated spoiler. Within, the most eye-catching feature is a large horizontally configured infotainment touch screen. A rotary-style shifter and a fully digital gauge cluster give the driver's cockpit a clean and futuristic feel.

As brands like Volvo have established electric vehicle (EV) model ranges such as the Recharge line of cars and SUVs, Subaru is a late-comer to the global all-electric race. To better compete in this area, the brand is ramping up EV R&D with a $272 million technical facility that will open in spring 2024 and employ 2,800 people from the automaker's engineering and design teams.

Moreover, Subaru says at least 40 percent of vehicles sold worldwide will be electrified or partially electrified by 2030. And by 2035, all Subaru vehicles will have electrification technology to some degree.

The new Solterra will go on sale in mid-2022. Based on reports, it will initially be available in 11 states—California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State—and the District of Columbia.