News / Motoring
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Subaru R1e - Electric Vehicle
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Subaru R1e - Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)

Subaru will probably launch the Subaru R1e electric car as a pre-production model in Japan in mid to late 2009, with a possible 2010 release date for Europe and North America. The Subaru R1e is a full electric, lithium ion battery powered vehicle with seating for four people in a 2+2 configuration.

The R1e is a joint development between Subaru and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The first Subaru R1e prototype was completed in June 2006. TEPCO will be running 30 Subaru R1e's in field trials in Japan during 2008, and will start to replace 3000 of their light mini-cars with R1e's starting in 2009.

The R1e has a top speed of 100 kph (62 mph) and its range on a full charge is 80 km (50 miles). The R1e weighs just 870 kg or approximately 1914 lbs. The batteries are charged overnight in 8 hours off a standard home power source, or the R1e's batteries can also be charged in 15 minutes to 80% capacity, using a high speed charger, developed by TEPCO.

The Subaru R1e's batteries have been developed by NEC Lamilion (a joint venture between Fuji Heavy Industries and NEC) and are called NLE thin manganese lithium-ion type batteries. Subaru has indicated that the battery lifespan is 10 years or 240 000 km (149 000 miles). After seven years of use and 10 000 km per year (6200 miles/year), the NEC Lamilion battery still has an 85% storage capability.

The Manager Core Technology R&D for Subaru, Kazumasa Arai, says that the Subaru R1e NEC Lamilion batteries are one of its most remarkable features, because of their ability to charge using a fast charge system (15 minutes), and that the power delivery from the batteries gives acceleration capability to the R1e that is as good as any gasoline powered vehicle.

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