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Friday, June 5, 2009

Subaru Stella Electric Car goes on sale in Japan

The Subaru Stella electric vehicle (EV) will be on sale from late July in Japan. With the Honda Insight being the hottest selling car in Japan in April and the 2010 Prius taking the #1 spot in May the time is right for the first battery electric car to hit the showrooms.

The latest model is based around Subaru’s existing Stella minicar and has a range of about 55 miles and top speed has been limited to 62mph. The car’s 9.2 kWh, 346V Li-ion battery pack can be charged up to 80% of its capacity in 15 minutes using a quick charging system, whereas it's also fully rechargeable in eight hours when using a 100V power outlet. A 200V outlet reduces this time to about five hours.

The electric motor of the EV, mounted in the engine bay, generates 60hp (47kW) of maximum power output and peak torque of 125lb-ft (170Nm), approx the same power as the Mitsubishi MiEV. The vehicle also recovers inertia energy in deceleration through regenerative braking which extends driving range.

Pricing has been set at ¥4,725,000 (approximately $49,000) but the Japanese government will be offering a ¥1,380,000 ($14,308) subsidy through its Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center program. On top of that, additional tax reductions are also expected due to special measures conducted by Japanese Ministry

Only 170 units will be released in the first year of sale but judging by the recent announcements by both Honda and Toyota that the need to increase production the meet demand, the same may soon apply to the Subaru EV.

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