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Subaru to Evaluate Electric Car With New York Power Authority

April 01, 2008

NEW YORK – Subaru will begin evaluating its R1e electric vehicle (EV) in the United States this summer. The Subaru R1e will be on display at the New York International Auto Show, from Mar. 21-30 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Based on the Subaru R1 minicar sold in Japan, the R1e was developed by Subaru in partnership with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO). The utility has been testing a fleet of R1e electric cars since 2006. As part of a U.S. test program, two of the Subaru R1e electric cars will join the New York Power Authority (NYPA) fleet.

"This joint venture with Subaru builds on the New York Power Authority's extensive involvement with clean transportation and gives us the opportunity to offer the latest in electric drive technologies to our customers," said Roger Kelley, president and chief executive officer, New York Power Authority.

The Subaru R1e employs state-of-the-art, fast-charge lithium ion battery technology that eliminates typical lithium ion battery issues of charge memory loss, allowing partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life. The two-seat Subaru R1e is capable of driving at speeds up to 65 mph with a range of up to 50 miles, making it an ideal urban commuter. The Subaru R1e can be "quick-charged" to 80 percent capacity in only 15 minutes using quick-charge technology. The vehicle can be fully charged overnight (eight hours) while connected to a standard household electrical outlet. The R1e uses an AC permanent magnet synchronized motor producing 40 kW.

"Subaru's goal is to become the leading brand in the electric vehicle market," said Ikuo Mori, president, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. "The R1e is an example of today's cutting-edge battery technology, while the Subaru G4e Concept Car shows a glimpse into the future of electric cars."

There are currently 40 Subaru R1e vehicles in use, and Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries will place an additional 100 electric vehicles for test marketing in Japan in 2009. Subaru is focusing on the development of new battery technology for future power train applications. Compared with nickel metal hydride or nickel-hydrogen battery technology, lithium-ion battery technology offers a number of advantages, among them easier packaging, higher power density, and better cooling for longer life.

Service life for the high-density lithium-ion battery is estimated at 10 years and 100,000 miles. The battery pack is also designed to be easily recycled. The laminated battery packs are flat, rather than cylindrical, offering EV manufacturers wide latitude in vehicle design and packaging. The battery's basic design and composition consist of laminate, manganese, and lithium ion.

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