BREAKING: Subaru expanding R1e pilot program to NY

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.

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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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