Geneva 2008: Subaru wants to be tops in EVs

Click image for hi-res photos of the Subaru's EV display at Geneva

While the Legacy Boxer Diesel was technically the big showpiece for Subaru at Geneva, a glance at the automaker's booth showed that electric vehicles were given equally prominent billing. The R1e was set up alongside the G4e concept that made its debut at last year's Tokyo Motor Show. The R1e is an all-electric variant of the Japan-only R1 microcar. Right now, 40 of the Pokemon-looking EVs are in service with Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Japan, where they're being field-tested by employees. When connected to a quick charger, its battery power can be replenished in just 15 minutes. Fully charged, it has an operating range of around 100 kilometers. Next year, Subaru hopes to increase the test fleet to 100 cars.

The G4e represents Subaru's longer-term goals. Equipped with Li-Ion battery technology, the lightweight 5-door EV concept should offer double the range of the R1e. In his remarks to the assembled media, Fuji Heavy Industries president Ikuo Mori said, "Subaru's goal is to become the leading brand in the electric vehicle market." He then added that the automaker would continue its EV development programs with an eye towards creating the ultimate zero-emissions car for urban commuters. Something like that G4e with a legit 125-mile range would look mighty attractive with oil prices being what they are today.

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[Source: Subaru]

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