Fuji Heavy Industries Unveils Subaru Li-Ion Mini Car

August 18, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Subaru vehicle maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan), a 20-percent-owned company of General Motors Corp., unveiled plans to make its first foray into battery-powered autos with an electric minicar concept model that uses high-performance, lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries that can be recharged in minutes. Fuji Heavy believes that the new vehicle will help it challenge Toyota Motor Corp. and other rivals leading in technologies for hybrid electric-gasoline or fuel-cell vehicles.

The R1e electric vehicle, powered by a Li-Ion battery developed with NEC Corp., is designed to run 200 km (124 miles) on a single charge. The car body will be based on a gasoline-powered R1 minicar with a 0.66 L capacity engine. Fuji Heavy plans to license technology to produce its batteries and capacitors for gasoline-electric hybrid cars and fuel cell vehicles to automakers, including General Motors and makers of dry cells.

The company aims to start selling the electric minicars in Japan as early as 2009.