|The STELLA minicar EV concept.|
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the maker of Subaru automobiles, unveiled a concept electric drive version of its STELLA minicar. FHI will provide five units of the Plug-in STELLA Concept for use at the upcoming G8 Summit in Japan (7-9 July).
The Subaru Plug-in STELLA Concept combines the electric drive system employed in the R1e (earlier post) with the Subaru STELLA minicar platform. FHI plans to use the Plug-in STELLA Concept in the development and test-marketing of the next generation of EVs in Japan in the near future.
The STELLA EV seats four, has a maximum speed of 100 kph (62 mph) and a range of 80km (50 miles) per charge. A 9.2 kWh, 346V Li-ion battery pack drives an electric motor with 40 kW output and that develops 150 Nm torque.
The pack employs fast-charge lithium-ion battery technology that eliminates the typical lithium-ion battery issue of charge memory loss, allowing partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life. The battery pack, originally developed in partnership with NEC Corporation, uses lithium manganese oxide spinel (LiMn2O4) as the cathode active material. The crystalline spinel structure makes the battery resistant to overcharging and provides high thermal stability. The pack can recharge to 80% capacity in 15 minutes.
The conventional STELLA uses a 658cc DOHC 4-cylinder engine coupled with Subaru’s i-CVT transmission and offers fuel efficiency of 23 km/L (54 mpg US).
Four of the five will be used to transport government officials and other participants at the summit, while one vehicle will be displayed at the Environmental Showcase, an exhibition and demonstration area in the International Media Center, and it will also be available for a test drive.
In addition, FHI will provide one STELLA Concept model to the Japan Post group for use in mail collection and delivery in the vicinity of Toyako during the summit.
FHI has jointly developed the Subaru R1e with Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO), a leading utility in Japan, and the vehicle’s performance has been tested since June 2006. Forty units of the R1e model, equipped with lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries, have been used by TEPCO as part of its corporate fleet and by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, providing performance results that further advance FHI’s EV development work.