Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), has announced that the R1e electric vehicle will begin silently rolling off dealer lots come 2009, which is a year ahead of schedule. With lithium-ion batteries developed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the R1e will have a 50-mile range and a 62-MPH top speed. While the 'range isn't too impressive -- although plenty for typical urban commuting, and it will certainly increase -- the car can be 80-percent recharged in just 8 minutes.

Prices haven't been released for the 2009 launch, but FHI says that by 2012 or 2013, it expects to be able to sell the car for around $17,500. A couple more years of mass production of the battery should allow for a price drop to about $13,100. Initially, FHI only plans to sell 100 of the cars annually, which is only 60 more than are being tested on roads right now and sounds rather conservative to us. Nevertheless, for those of you in Japan, your electric future is nearly here.

[Source: Green Car Congress via Winding Road]

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