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Subaru may have an electric ace up its SUV sleeve

The automaker aims to release an all-electric SUV by 2021, according to reports in Japan.

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It might not look like much right now, but this chassis is the future of Subaru.


The US is all agog over crossovers and has been for some time. Yet there's no denying the inexorable march towards electrification. So it stands to reason that mixing these two concepts would produce a home run, right? That's what Subaru is apparently thinking, as the company is allegedly readying an electric SUV.

Subaru intends to release an electric mid-size utility vehicle based on the Forester or Outback, Japan's Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reports, citing insider sources. (The report was spotted by Automotive News.) It's expected to ride on the new Subaru Global Platform, which also underpins the 2017 Impreza. It's built for use with a wide variety of vehicle types, including plug-in hybrids and EVs. As with every Subaru except for the BRZ, it'll pack all-wheel drive too.

The automaker did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but a spokesman did tell Automotive News that if Subaru did intend to release such a product, there's a good chance it'd be on the new platform and built with the North American market in mind.

There's no better time than the present to start ramping up EV R&D, especially at a company that's only really built traditional hybrids in small batches. As regulations continue to tighten in California and the US in general, automakers will see increased pressure to roll out zero-emission vehicles, and hybrids can't do all the heavy lifting on their own.

This EV isn't the only crossover Subaru's working on. The company is still working on its follow up to the three-row Tribeca. Given its development stretches back several years, there's a chance it won't ride on the Subaru Global Platform, but a three-row crossover is practically a necessity if you want to appeal to as much of the market as possible.