• Mar 17th 2008 at 3:53PM
  • 15
Click image for a gallery of the Subaru R1e in New York

NYPAThat Subaru R1e caught driving the streets of Manhattan over the weekend foreshadows the expansion the car's field-test program to the United States. Subaru is expected to make a formal announcement within the next hour or so, but we can preview it for you here now. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) will receive two R1e vehicles to pilot in the same way the cars are being used in Japan.

To recap, the R1e is a full-EV version of the Japan-market R1 microcar. Driven by a 40 kW motor powered by a Li-Ion battery pack, the R1e is being field-tested by employees of both the Tokyo Electric Power Comany and NEC Lamilion Energy, Limited. The Japanese government lauded this effort last year. There are currently forty of the cars in service in Japan and Subaru hopes to bump that number to one hundred. When connected to a quick-charger station that's also part of the pilot testing, an 80% charge can be achieved in just 15 minutes. When plugged into a standard household outlet, the car will fully recharge in 8 hours or so. Operating range, according to Subaru, is 50 miles and the car boasts a top speed of 65 miles per hour.

The R1e will be on display at the 2008 New York Auto Show starting this weekend, and we'll update this post with Subaru and NYPA's formal announcement as soon as it hits the wires.

Official Subaru announcement has been added after the jump.



What: Subaru of America, Inc. will Subaru will begin evaluating its R1e electric vehicle (EV) in the United States this summer in conjunction with the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The plan will be officially announced at Thursday, March 20th at 12:30 PM at the New York International Auto Show.

Subaru will provide two Subaru R1e electric cars to NYPA for evaluation. The Subaru R1e will be on display at the New York International Auto Show, from March 21-30 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

The Subaru R1e employs state-of-the-art, fast-charge lithium ion battery technology that eliminates typical lithium ion battery issues of charge memory loss, allowing partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life. The two-seat Subaru R1e is capable of driving at speeds up to 65 mph with a range of up to 50 miles, making it an ideal urban commuter. The Subaru R1e can be "quick-charged" to 80 percent capacity in only 15 minutes using quick-charge technology.

A typical charge cost less than $2 dollars. The vehicle can be fully charged overnight (eight hours) while connected to a standard household electrical outlet. The R1e uses an AC permanent magnet synchronized motor producing 40 kW. The new lithium ion batteries are also designed in layers that allow for simple recycling at the end of their 10 year life.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Um... none of this adds up.

      1) Traditional li-ions don't have memory effects, so that statement is just wrong. They have plenty of problems, but memory is not one of them.

      2) How on earth is the top speed only 65mph when it has a 40kW motor? I've heard of electronically limited, but why even put that strong of a motor in at all if you're going to limit it that much?

      3) Given the charge time, I think the battery pack is about 13kWh. Which means that at top speed the motor would only be using 25% of its power.

      If I had to guess what this was all about? Perhaps the car isn't stable or crashworthy at speeds faster than 65mph, which is why they limited it. Either that, or perhaps they're afraid that people will drive faster, run out of battery faster, and fault them for "misreporting its range". I think the motor is oversized because they don't want it to come across as sluggish in accelerating up to its (very capped) top speed.

      Anyways, when the G4e comes over, I might have interest. Until then, the range on this is way too low and it's too inefficient and limited compared to competitors like the Aptera.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The TeslaRoadster started production yesterday (unit P1 was already on the streets in the hands of the CEO in January). 220 mi range, 55kwh charge, but a pricey 2-seater sports car, $100K. They plan the WhiteStar in 4 yrs or so at half the price, 5-passenger. And the (BlueStar?) a couple of years after that at half that price or so. They will license their tech to anyone. By long before then, the Toshiba SCiB and other nanowire/particle LiIon batteries will be offering 10X the charge and 60X the charge rate (if you can find a big enough feed! around 500Amps/240V).

      • 7 Years Ago
      Great news...can we buy it? What's the cost of this sucker? It's a winner if it comes in around $22K!
      • 7 Years Ago
      50 Mile range? Close enough. It'd work for about 99.5% of all of my trips - for the other 0.5% I can rent a truck or a van. Looks like a winner if it can come in at $20K or less.

      "the range on this is way too low and it's too inefficient and limited compared to competitors like the Aptera."

      But I suspect it'll be a good bit cheaper than the Aptera.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I highly doubt there's any plan to bring the R1 to the US (it is a JDM-only model), but Subaru is likely going to take its learnings from the R1e program and apply them to a new EV in the vein of the G4e concept (see the second gallery above), which they'd probably like to sell in as many places as possible, assuming they actually build it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      In 4 years it won't be easy to choose which electric car I should buy:
      There will be nice little things like this Subaru, the MiEV, the Bollore, the Think City and the VW Lupo II EV. This cars would be very nice for people who drive less than 100 km in one day. And that Subaru looks very promising. I think that will be better than the MiEV.

      But I think that I would rather like a range extended electric vehicle or a plugin-hybrid with high electrical range. In 2012 the Opel Flextreme, the Audi A1 or the Volvo C30 Recharge could be something I would buy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd still buy one and put my money where my mouth is but why is the range so low?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I want the R2e (stretch 4-door version), with the styling of the R1e concept. They couldn't build them fast enough to keep up with demand. With a little competition from the Mits iMiEV, what could be finer?
      • 7 Years Ago
      you are way ahead of all the outher mfgr dont let toyota buy in to steal your technology!!I had a 1990 legacy with over 250.000 miles on it and it still could blow the doors off a mustang when it was 5 years old it beat a porsch for real!!if i wasnt disabled and my wife on oxygen id get a tribeca so i could haul her eletric weel chair
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wouldn't that indicate plans to sell in the US? How does the R1 ( in Japan ) drive?
      • 7 Years Ago
      That's it, 2 cars! BFD!

      C'mon guys, I thought this was something to get excited about. Giving a coupl'a cars to the pigs is hardly rolling out a model for US sales. You might as well make it a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and give them to some obscure federal agency for "testing".

      (BTW, I will NEVER EVER buy another subaru as long as I live). The reliability on our impreza outback wagon has but downright abysmal.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm sold...where can I get one?
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