Subaru is still new to EVs, but that isn’t stopping it from unveiling more ambitious projects. Electrekreports the automaker has introduced two concept EVs at the Tokyo Auto Salon, including its first all-electric race car. The STI E-RA Concept hints at Subaru’s upcoming track vehicle with 1,073HP of total power from its four Yamaha motors, extensive downforce and all-wheel drive mated to a “unique” torque vectoring system that maximizes grip and stability.
While the 60kWh battery is relatively small, Subaru is confident the E-RA can thrive on the track. It’s hoping to set a Nürburgring lap time of 6 minutes and 40 seconds at some point in 2023. That’s not as quick as VW’s ID.R (6 minutes 5 seconds), but it’s comfortably ahead of road cars like Tesla’s Model S Plaid (7 minutes 35 seconds). The company plans to test the E-RA at Japanese racing circuits later in 2022.
The brand also unveiled a Solterra STI Concept (at middle) that, as the name implies, is a sportier version of the upcoming crossover. Subaru didn’t discuss under-body changes, but the upgraded Solterra has a roof spoiler, skirt spoilers and other customizations to signal its performance ambitions.
However much the E-RA represents Subaru’s motorsport plans, it’s also serving as a declaration of intent. Like VW’s racer, it shows the company is serious about EVs and can produce high-performance cars in addition to everyday people haulers. The challenge is to translate lessons learned from concepts like this to regular vehicles. Subaru is late to EVs compared even to incumbents like VW, Mercedes and GM, and it may need to move quickly if it wants to counter the electrification efforts of its rivals.