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Fuji Heavy Industries, parent company and maker of Subaru automobiles, is ready to begin testing prototype versions of the Stella electric vehicle in Japan. The EV is based on the production version of the gas-powered Stella, which is a small kei-sized hatchback that's not available in the U.S. market. The Ministry of the Environment of Japan will get a total of 15 Stella plug-in EVs to test ahead of the model's expected sale date later this summer in Japan.

According to Subaru, it's actually managed to improve on the initial Stella EV prototype by boosting power from 40kW to 47kW. Plus, the automaker has reduced the weight of the vehicle's structure, reduced the dimensions of its battery pack and completely revised the interior. When the Stella EV finally does go on sale, it will use these updated specifications. Full press release after the break.

[Source: Subaru]


Fuji Heavy Industries develops prototype of Subaru Stella plug-in EV

Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru automobiles, has announced the successful development of a prototype of its Subaru plug-in Stella electric vehicle, which will be introduced in Japan in summer 2009.

Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) will provide the Ministry of the Environment of Japan with 15 units of the plug-in Stella prototype for verification test which will be conducted by five prefectural and city governments.

The new prototype model improved driving performance by increasing power output from 40kW in the previous model to 47kW and further enhanced its efficiency by lightening the body weight and fine-tuning output management.

In addition to the optimization and downsizing of the battery pack design, the company changed the instrument panel and interior design. Specifications of a production electric vehicle (EV) model, which will be introduced in summer 2009, are basically identical to those of this model.

The Ministry of the Environment of Japan is now carrying out the promotion of the next generation vehicle, aiming to further spread the use of EVs.

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