Hybrids

Subaru's first plug-in hybrid probably packs Prius Prime parts

It's allegedly called Evoltis, but thankfully that hasn't been confirmed.

Hopefully, Subaru's effort will be a bit less... polarizing.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Subaru and Toyota's friendship goes deeper than the BRZ/86, and we'll see more of it when Subaru launches its first plug-in hybrid in the near future.

According to Subaru CTO Takeshi Tachimori, the automaker relied on Toyota's work in the plug-in market as much as it could when creating its own PHEV. Car and Driver believes that means Subaru's plug-in will nick some parts from the Prius Prime.

It also speculated that Subaru could take advantage of E-Four, a recent Toyota creation that will adjust torque sent to the electrically driven rear wheels in an all-wheel-drive hybrid setup. Given Subaru's fondness for four driven wheels, it wouldn't be a huge surprise. Subaru hasn't confirmed the existence of anything specific just yet -- that will probably come closer to its release, which C&D believes should happen before the end of the year.

That all sounds pretty good, right? Something we might not all agree on, however, is its alleged name -- Evoltis. C&D points to a US trademark filing from Subaru for that name, marked with intent for use. That doesn't guarantee it's the PHEV's name, but if it is, woof. Interesting way to go with it.

The Prius Prime is a pretty solid plug-in hybrid in its own right. It can go about 25 miles on electricity alone, and the EPA rates it 54 mpg combined when the gas engine is involved. It's front-wheel drive, and it sports Toyota's take on a vertical infotainment screen. Let's hope Subaru skips over that little bit -- we found it needlessly complex in our review.

When General Motors liquidated its Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru's parent company, now called Subaru Corporation) stock in 2005, Toyota bought 40 percent of its stake, or nearly 9 percent of FHI. Toyota increased that stake to 16.5 percent in 2008. The two jointly developed a rear-wheel drive sports coupe, sold as both the Toyota 86 (née Scion FR-S) and the Subaru BRZ.