Subaru Makes First Hybrid Steps

Thu, 27/02/2020

The launch of Subaru All-Wheel Drive hybrid Forester and XV variants brings even greater customer choice in the brand’s best-selling model ranges.

With Forester and XV ranked first and second for Subaru sales in Australia, the added variety in the brand’s Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) range is anticipated to grow the models’ audience even further.

Subaru’s first steps in the hybrid arena form part of a long-term strategy that will produce a variety of next generation power plants and technologies in the coming years.

Subaru Australia Managing Director, Colin Christie, said: “Forester and XV are long-established sales successes in our range and we know there is pent-up demand for hybrid variants among one of the most loyal customer bases in the industry.

“We’re already achieving significant fleet successes with our hybrid variants, in an area where our engineering, safety and whole-of-life costs make a compelling story.

“Now, with the formal launch into showrooms across Australia, we can see small but important opportunities to enter a growing space, in which Subaru will have an increasing presence in the not too distant future, with a variety of increasingly sophisticated and efficient hybrid – and later electric – vehicles.”

Subaru has already achieved over 500 Forester and XV hybrid sales with fleet customers.

The innovative SUVs feature identical petrol-electric engines that add a new dimension and choice to Subaru’s range.

XV Hybrid offers over 14% improvement in fuel efficiency over equivalent petrol variants in the urban cycle and over 7% improvement in the combined cycle, while Forester offers improvement of over 19% in the urban cycle and over 9% in the combined cycle* (compared to 2.5-litre petrol variants).

*Fuel consumption figures based on testing in accordance with ADR81/02. ADR based fuel consumption figures are for comparative purposes only and may not reflect real world results due to variables such as driving conditions and driving style.

One XV Hybrid AWD variant is available and two Foresters: Hybrid L AWD and Hybrid S AWD.

As with the entire Subaru new vehicle range, all hybrid variants have a five-star rating for occupant safety from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

Both hybrid models feature e-Boxer power - a 2.0 litre horizontally opposed Boxer engine linked via Motor Assist to a high voltage lithium ion battery, offering fuel economy benefits, particularly in congested city driving.

The four cylinder 2.0 litre engine produces 110 Kilowatts of power at 6,000 rpm and 196 Newtonmetres of torque at 4,000 rpm and features the efficient intake/exhaust Active Valve Control System (AVCS).

The electric motor produces 12.3 kW of power and 66 Nm of torque, and is self-charging, via kinetic energy captured by regenerative braking and coasting.

The direct injection petrol engine, Motor Assist and battery combination produce smooth, linear and responsive acceleration.

The e-Boxer logic adjusts the power split between petrol and electric to match driving conditions.

It automatically changes between three modes:

  • Motor Assist EV driving
  • Motor Assist electric (EV) + petrol engine driving, and;
  • Petrol engine driving

From standstill or at low speed, the vehicle is powered by the electric motor only, for quiet, zero-emission driving.

Depending upon driving environment, vehicle and battery condition, it can operate in fully electric mode up to 40 km/h.

When driving in fully electric mode (both forward and reverse), the Pedestrian Alert system emits a sound, to alert people in close proximity. The system operates when the vehicle speed is 24 km/h or less.

At medium speeds, combined power from both the electric and petrol engine produce responsive, linear and more fuel efficient acceleration.

At high speed, the Boxer petrol engine exclusively powers the vehicle, while regenerative braking or coasting with foot off the accelerator, recharges the lithium ion battery.

Under certain driving conditions above 40 km/h, when decelerating or coasting and the battery is charging, the petrol engine can turn off, achieving fuel saving.

As soon as the accelerator is pressed, the engine will re-start.

Depending upon driving style, the e-Boxer hybrid system can offer improved fuel consumption particularly in urban, stop-go traffic.

It also eliminates the unnatural braking feel common to some electric-only vehicles.

The e-Boxer hybrid system uses kinetic energy by converting it into electricity, delivered to the battery located in the sub cargo floor, together with the drive motor inverter and DC/DC converter. All are installed in a high-strength frame, with sound dampening and moisture-repelling qualities.

The electric motor assist and battery pack are aligned longitudinally, with the motor located near the vehicle’s centre of gravity, while the battery and other components are above the rear axle, also contributing to low centre of gravity and optimising front/rear weight distribution.

An unobtrusive cooling system draws air from the cabin to help maintain the battery at operating temperature and to help ensure better longevity.

In Forester Hybrid S AWD, driver selectable SI-Drive – Subaru’s powertrain performance management system – allows the driver to tailor throttle characteristics by choosing between “Intelligent” and “Sport” modes, for flexible, convenient and enjoyable driving.

Subaru’s smooth and efficient Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is mated to the e-Boxer system for ultra-smooth power delivery and torque.

Motor Assist enhances X-Mode off-road capability, through better low speed torque control. 

X-Mode makes it easier for drivers to safely navigate bad roads, slippery surfaces and steep hills, with just one switch. X-Mode’s status is indicated visually on the Multi-Function Display (MFD) screen.

When X-Mode is engaged, at 40 km/h or less, status information is displayed on the MFD and instrument cluster, including Hill Descent Control and Vehicle Dynamics Control.

X-Mode centralizes control of the engine, All-Wheel Drive, brakes and other critical components to help ensure safe driving even on poor surfaces.

Hill Descent Control helps maintain a constant speed when the vehicle is travelling down hill.

All Subaru hybrids purchased by private buyers for private use offer a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, plus an eight-year 160,000 km lithium ion battery warranty.

Image: 
Subaru Hybrid