Subaru has been on a mission to develop electric vehicles, which you might have gleamed from my previous story on the Subaru R1e and G4e. Well, 2009 is no exception for this company; Subaru announced on June 4 the 2009 Subaru Stella Plug-In is on sale in Japan. Deliveries are supposed to start this August, which means that Japanese consumers will be able to have a Stella a month after the Mitsubishi i-MiEV goes into production.
Subaru Stella EV
So is the 2009 Subaru Stella different from the previous R1e EV? The answer to that is yes…and no. The Stella rides on a different chassis and has different exterior styling. In fact, it is actually a production car sold in Japan that is normally powered by a 660cc inline four-cylinder. The similarity is in the drivetrain of the two cars. The Stella takes the drivetrain from the R1e with some battery and electric motor output upgrades. The EV motor has an output of what would be equivalent 63 hp and 125 pound-feet from a standard gasoline engine.
How does it perform? The 2009 Subaru Stella Plug-In has a range of 55 miles and can achieve 0-40 in 4 seconds. The top speed of the Stella is limited to 60 mph. Why 60 mph? It isn’t Subaru trying to play a role in a government big brother scheme; no it is really due to the current lithium ion battery technology. Subaru is really trying to keep the consumer from overheating the batteries, which would drastically reduce the lifespan. Have no fear, even if you can’t exceed 60 mph the batteries can be charged in about 15 minutes with a dedicated quick-charge station. Otherwise, you can charge the Stella using a conventional 100-volt wall outlet, though this can take more than 8 hours.
Stella EV Power Train
Bottom line—The 2009 Subaru Stella Plug-In is a step in the right direction even if it has a hefty price tag of $47,900 U.S. Obviously electric vehicles have a long way to go, but if I were given a Stella to drive 76 miles per day I would be ecstatic. I may have to wait quite awhile though because there are no plans for the Stella to come to the U.S. at the present time.
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