Subaru to test R1e electric car in New York City

At the New York Auto Show last week, Subaru announced it would begin testing its R1e electric vehicle in conjunction with the New York Power Authority this summer. Two of the R1e vehicles will join the NYPA fleet, promising a 50-mile range that costs less than $2 in electricity, a 65 mph top speed and an 80-percent recharge in just 15 minutes.

The two-seater is powered by advanced lithium ion batteries that do not suffer from charge memory loss like typical lithium ion batteries, allowing partial charges without adverse effects on their longevity. A full charge takes eight hours via a standard household electrical outlet. The batteries power a 40 kW (about 54 horsepower) AC permanent magnet synchronized motor that drives all wheels, in typical Subaru fashion.

"Subaru's goal is to become the leading brand in the electric vehicle market," said Ikuo Mori, Fuji Heavy Industries president.

Similar testing has been in Japan since 2006, with 40 Subaru R1-based R1es doing duty in the Tokyo Electric Power Company fleet, which helped develop the car. Subaru plans on placing another 100 R1e vehicles in Japan next year. Service life for the lithium-ion battery utilized in the R1e is estimated at 10 years and 100,000 miles.