Subaru unveils Solterra, its first all-electric vehicle - but Kiwis face a wait to buy one

Subaru's new electric vehicle, the Solterra
It's been developed jointly with Toyota, whose bZ4X EV will arrive in Aotearoa in 2022. Photo credit: Supplied / Subaru

Japanese car manufacturer Subaru has unveiled its first ever all electric vehicle, but New Zealanders are facing a long wait before they can buy one.

The Solterra SUV will go on sale in the US, Canada, Europe, China and Japan in mid-2022, but Subaru NZ say discussions are ongoing regarding its availability in Aotearoa.

Subaru NZ's managing director Wallis Dumper said he is still excited to see the company continuing to progress towards a more sustainable future, following the launch of the e-Boxer Hybrids last year.

"We are thrilled that Subaru has announced its first electric vehicle," Dumper said.

"The Solterra news will no doubt excite many of our customers who are looking forward to owning a Subaru electric vehicle, however currently there is no timeline to share.

"Future electric vehicle projects form part of ongoing dialogue between Subaru of New Zealand and the factory."

The Solterra has been developed jointly with Toyota, which recently announced its first fully electric vehicle - the bZ4X - will be available to buy here in late 2022.

The companies have combined Subaru's All-Wheel Drive technology with Toyota's vehicle electrification technology to create the new SUV.

Overseas, the Solterra will have both front-wheel and all-wheel variants. In the former a 150kW motor will output 201 horsepower (hp), with the latter driven by two 80kW motors for a total of 214 hp.

Subaru's new electric vehicle, the Solterra
Photo credit: Supplied / Subaru

Both will have a 71.4kWh battery that sits beneath the floor, with estimates from the company saying the front-wheel drive model will get approximately 530km of range, while the all-wheel drive will get 460km.

The battery will also offer fast charging up to 150kW but didn't specify how long it would take.

Toyota has previously said its bZ4x battery, which is built on the same platform, would get to 80 percent full in 30 minutes with a 150kW charger.

It also said the battery would operate at 90 percent of its original performance after 10 years of driving or 240,000km, whichever is shorter.

The name Solterra was chosen by joining the Latin words 'sol' for sun and 'terrar' for earth together, with the company saying it was in "appreciation of mother nature and to reinforce its intention to further advance coexistence with it".