In March, Subaru displayed its R1e electric vehicle at the New York International Auto Show. Based on the Subaru R1 minicar, which Subaru sells in Japan, the R1e is a test bed for evaluating battery technology to be used in electric as well as hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.
The Subaru R1e was developed by Subaru in partnership with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO). TEPCO has been testing a fleet of R1e vehicles since 2006, and now two will join the New York Power Authority’s fleet through the summer of 2008. In 2009, Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries will put 100 electric vehicles into a consumer test program in Japan.
The R1e uses fast-charge, lithium-ion battery technology. These batteries have been designed to eliminate issues with memory loss, partial charges, and quick charges. The two-seat Subaru R1e is capable of speeds up to 65 mph with a range of as many as 50 miles. It can be “quick charged” to 80 percent capacity in only 15 minutes and fully charged in eight hours – all through standard household electrical outlets. Service life for the high-density, lithium-ion battery is estimated at 10 years and 130,000 miles.
The New York Power Authority is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in New York state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission. Electric vehicles and hybrids placed in service by the authority for its own operations and in fleets of its customers now exceed 8.6 million miles.
Future issues of Drive will have more about the Subaru R1e.