4 Signs Point to Subaru Not Surviving the Switch to Electric Cars
After finally releasing the all-electric Solterra, Subaru looks like it’s getting serious about electrifying its lineup. The automaker boasts that its EVs will ride on a new platform engineered to enhance what consumers like about electric cars. The e-Subaru Global Platform promises minimal vibration, a stable ride, and enhanced protection in collisions.
The automaker has also partnered with EVgo, a nationwide network of charging stations. Subaru dedicates a page on its website to informing consumers about EV tax incentives, charging, and more. Despite those steps, Subaru has given us a few reasons to believe it might not survive in the era of electric cars.
1. Subaru sells only 1 EV
While most other automakers sell at least a couple of EVs, Subaru produces only the Solterra. And it’s basically a badge-engineered version of the Toyota bZ4X, so there’s little to set the two apart. Both have a 215-hp dual-motor setup, symmetrical all-wheel drive, and 8.3 inches of ground clearance.
In addition to AWD, each Solterra has X-Mode with downhill assist. This function helps drivers traverse steep hills and comes with a few terrain traction settings. The electric crossover also has the Subaru Eyesight advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS), including forward and reverse automatic emergency braking. Other ADAS features are steering assist, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.
2. Subaru’s sole electric car has unimpressive range
Although it has competitive ADAS features, the Solterra gets only 220 miles of range. The average electric car with standard front-wheel drive offers at least 260 miles. Other EVs, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, are more efficient even with AWD. And finding an electric vehicle offering battery configurations with more range is easy, but Solterra buyers get only one.
3. Solterra sales are not doing well
With its lackluster powertrain and range, the Subaru Solterra isn’t thrilling, especially at its $45,000 asking price. Subaru reports that it has sold only 1,962 units so far this year. The Kia EV6, which has a similar price point and interior dimensions, has sold over 4,600 units. However, Subaru only began shipping the Solterra to dealerships late last year, and the EV6 came out in 2021.
4. Subaru’s standard AWD is no longer a selling point
Subaru distinguished itself from rivals by offering standard AWD, but now other automakers do it. For example, every 2023 Mazda CX-5 and CX-90 PHEV includes AWD. And other electric crossovers, such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, offer AWD on higher trims.
It’s also not uncommon for AWD to be included on luxury EVs, such as the BMW iX and Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback. The latter is the cheaper of the two, retailing for $58,200. That’s not much more expensive than a fully loaded Subaru Solterra Touring, retailing for almost $52,000.
However, paying extra for the Touring doesn’t bring a better powertrain or range estimates. Even with a below-average 242-mile range, the Q4 e-tron Sportback is more efficient. It also harnesses 295 hp and can reach 60 mph in under six seconds, so it’s more exciting to drive.
Because Subaru is so late to the EV game, the automaker must wow consumers to better compete against rivals. As most manufacturers promise to cease production of gas-powered cars by 2035, can Subaru survive the transition? To turn the tide, the Solterra’s stablemates must deliver better range, power, and standout features besides AWD. The automaker reportedly has four new EVs in the works, so time will tell.