Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Stories : Subaru Begins Testing the Stella Electric Vehicle in Japan

Today Subaru announced the successful development of a prototype of its Subaru Plug-in STELLA electric vehicle (EV), to be introduced this summer in Japan. FHI will provide the Ministry of the Environment, Japan
with fifteen units of the Plug-in STELLA Prototype for verification tests to be conducted by five prefectural and city governments.

The new prototype model improved driving performance by increasing power output from 40kW to 47kW and further enhanced its efficiency by lightening body weight and fine-tuning output management. In addition to the optimization and downsizing of the battery pack design, it changed the instrument panel and interior design. Specifications of a production EV model, to be introduced this summer, are basically identical to those of this model.

The Ministry of the Environment, Japan is now carrying out the promotion of the next generation vehicle, aiming to further spread the use of EVs. By June this year fifteen units of the Plug-in STELLA Prototype will be loaned: four units for Kanagawa Prefecture, three units for Aichi Prefecture, three units for Osaka Prefecture, three units for Hyogo Prefecture, one unit for Yokohama City and one unit for Japan Post Service Co., Ltd.

FHI has been researching lithium ion battery technology, which has attracted attention as a future power source, and a next generation EV powered by those batteries. It has jointly developed the Subaru R1e with Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. since June 2006. Making good use of the R1e’s EV system and know-how, FHI successfully developed “Subaru Plug-in STELLA Concept” in June 2008, and five units of this EV were provided for use of Hokkaido Toyako Summit and the Japan Post group for use in mail collection and delivery. FHI plans to test-market production EV models from July this year in Japan and around 170 units of EV are planned to be delivered during this fiscal year. Pricing, selling system and after-sales service are now under study.

FHI pursues the perfect integration of a pleasant and reliable driving with environmental considerations in its vehicle development philosophy. Not to mention enhanced improvement of the current power unit line-up, FHI positions EVs as one of viable solutions and key technologies for environmental preservation, and it will further research and develop its EVs.


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