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With the announcement of Chevrolet Equinox EV today, damn the Solterra look even more obsolete :S
  • Range from 250 or 300 miles FWD, 280 miles eAWD
  • Standard 11.5 kW Level 2 (AC) charging7, which can add up to 34 miles of range per hour of charging
  • 19.2 kW Level 2 (AC) charging8 is available on 3RS eAWD, which can add up to 51 miles of range per hour of charging
  • Standard DC fast-charging capability of up to 150 kW, which enables approximately 70 miles of range to be added in 10 minutes
It was never a question of technological sophistication, but of preserving battery life. Subaru is looking at market research that shows that owners of its vehicles keep them a long time (anecdotally, I just scrapped a 2007 Impreza with 293K+ miles on the odometer, and I have an 8 year old Outback pushing 150K and a 7 year old Forester nearing 100K). Or their marketing slogan: 97% of all Subarus sold in the last 10 years are still on the road. They wanted to make sure that the battery retained 90% of its capacity at the 10 year point, and avoid saddling their customers with either an unsellable vehicle or an expensive battery replacement.

Like that decision or not (and I suspect many don't, given all the complaints about range and charging speed), you have to respect it for what it was: a business decision, not a technological limitation. How many of those vehicles now on the market with much higher range stats / charging speeds are going to need new battery packs in 5 years, or even retain those speeds just a few years down the road? Or will the average ownership time of an EV (even a Subaru one) be so short that it won't matter? Seeing how my 3 year old cell phone needs to be recharged after about 8 hours of normal use, and how long I tend to keep my vehicles, I'm thinking that time may prove out the wisdom of the Solterra design team. We shall see.
 

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I think you have to balance a healthy dose of that business intent to preserve the battery with using off the shelf components that make it cheaper to produce, especially what others have reported that the 6.6 kW limitation is due to RAV4 (month other) PHEV hardware. Some of the cost imperatives may drive the marketing narrative and maybe not the other way around.

There's also the dimension that gets overlooked a lot that the charging is entirely software controlled, and as the Out of Spec review in particular shows, the car does not use anywhere near it's physical capabilities when it is charged - though I don't believe a Level 2 evaluation was done by anyone (on an AWD bZ4X of course).
 

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It was never a question of technological sophistication, but of preserving battery life. Subaru is looking at market research that shows that owners of its vehicles keep them a long time (anecdotally, I just scrapped a 2007 Impreza with 293K+ miles on the odometer, and I have an 8 year old Outback pushing 150K and a 7 year old Forester nearing 100K). Or their marketing slogan: 97% of all Subarus sold in the last 10 years are still on the road. They wanted to make sure that the battery retained 90% of its capacity at the 10 year point, and avoid saddling their customers with either an unsellable vehicle or an expensive battery replacement.

Like that decision or not (and I suspect many don't, given all the complaints about range and charging speed), you have to respect it for what it was: a business decision, not a technological limitation. How many of those vehicles now on the market with much higher range stats / charging speeds are going to need new battery packs in 5 years, or even retain those speeds just a few years down the road? Or will the average ownership time of an EV (even a Subaru one) be so short that it won't matter? Seeing how my 3 year old cell phone needs to be recharged after about 8 hours of normal use, and how long I tend to keep my vehicles, I'm thinking that time may prove out the wisdom of the Solterra design team. We shall see.
If only it was true, this is Marketing speech because in reality, the Subaru Solterra warranty is the same than Equinox EV and the same than most EVs, an 8-year/100,000-mile limited warranty. In fact it's the MNIMUM allowed since it's a Federal Law and California requires 10-year/150,000-mile

Battery capacity retention guarantees:
  • Hyundai and Kia’s offer 10 year/100,000 mile EV warranty with 70% retention
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E (70%)
  • Ford F-150 Lightning (70%)
  • Jaguar I-PACE (70%)
  • Lucid Air (70%)
  • Polestar 2 (70%)
  • Volvo XC40 and C40 Recharge (70%)
  • Volkswagen ID.4 (70%)
  • Audi e-tron (70%)
  • Chevy Bolt (60%)
  • Nissan Leaf (70%)
  • Nissan Ariya (70%)
  • Toyota bZ4X (70%)
I love Subaru vehicles, I've owner many models: Impreza, WRX, Outback and really wanted the Solterra, but if you don't need the ground clearance/offroad capabilities you have way better choices out there
 

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Warranty is not synonymous with capacity or charging speed. That's a guarantee against outright failure due to a manufacturing defect.

I hadn't seen those charge retention guarantees, but I notice that all of those are well short of 90% at 10 years.

I would also be willing to bet good money that there is a lot of fine print associated with those warranties/ charges retention guarantees as well.

ICE 100K powertrain warranties generally require that you have any drive-related maintenance done at the specified intervals.

I understand your cynicism, and the fact that for you, there are EV choices that you consider "better", but I don't share your belief that the design team created a lousy, technologically deficient design, and they decided to try to pass it off as a deliberate choice.
 

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It was never a question of technological sophistication, but of preserving battery life. Subaru is looking at market research that shows that owners of its vehicles keep them a long time (anecdotally, I just scrapped a 2007 Impreza with 293K+ miles on the odometer, and I have an 8 year old Outback pushing 150K and a 7 year old Forester nearing 100K). Or their marketing slogan: 97% of all Subarus sold in the last 10 years are still on the road. They wanted to make sure that the battery retained 90% of its capacity at the 10 year point, and avoid saddling their customers with either an unsellable vehicle or an expensive battery replacement.

Like that decision or not (and I suspect many don't, given all the complaints about range and charging speed), you have to respect it for what it was: a business decision, not a technological limitation. How many of those vehicles now on the market with much higher range stats / charging speeds are going to need new battery packs in 5 years, or even retain those speeds just a few years down the road? Or will the average ownership time of an EV (even a Subaru one) be so short that it won't matter? Seeing how my 3 year old cell phone needs to be recharged after about 8 hours of normal use, and how long I tend to keep my vehicles, I'm thinking that time may prove out the wisdom of the Solterra design team. We shall see.
But, they only saddled us (N. America) with the slow battery, while Europe got the Panasonic for the Solterra. Sounds like a pure supply chain decision.
 

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Battery charging speed isn't a function of the battery, but the onboard charger, which is also software limited.

Also, remember that any change in a vehicle's weight has performance effects that ripple through the design. Was the Solterra originally intended to be worldwide, or Japan / NA only?

There may also have been regulatory and market pricing issues that played into that decision, as well.

Again, I really don't think anyone at Subaru of Toyota said, "Hey, let's ship a technologically inferior product to North America and market it as an intentional design decision."
 

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Warranty is not synonymous with capacity or charging speed. That's a guarantee against outright failure due to a manufacturing defect.

I hadn't seen those charge retention guarantees, but I notice that all of those are well short of 90% at 10 years.

I would also be willing to bet good money that there is a lot of fine print associated with those warranties/ charges retention guarantees as well.

ICE 100K powertrain warranties generally require that you have any drive-related maintenance done at the specified intervals.

I understand your cynicism, and the fact that for you, there are EV choices that you consider "better", but I don't share your belief that the design team created a lousy, technologically deficient design, and they decided to try to pass it off as a deliberate choice.
Never said it was synonym of capacity of charging speed. Capacity we already know, retention is the % of capacity for the warrantied period.

The 90% number was said by Toyota at the beginning (marketing) but the official number is 70%, anyway they are already 20% behind similar EVs in term of range.
What is better?
  1. 280 miles now and 196 miles (70% at worst) in 8 years or,
  2. 228 miles now and 205 miles (90%) in 8 years?

Subaru will have the same fine prints, must follow maintenance schedule for the warranty,
 

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Since I'm likely to keep mine at least 10 years, I'll take Option 2, especially if there's a reasonable chance that at the 10 year point, it looks more like:

1. 280 miles now, 182 miles (65%) at 10 years.
2. The same 205 miles for the Solterra.

It's also possible that the other EV's battery is at 252 miles (90%) or worse after just a year or two. Degradation of a battery isn't linear.
 

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Since I'm likely to keep mine at least 10 years, I'll take Option 2, especially if there's a reasonable chance that at the 10 year point, it looks more like:

1. 280 miles now, 182 miles (65%) at 10 years.
2. The same 205 miles for the Solterra.

It's also possible that the other EV's battery is at 252 miles (90%) or worse after just a year or two. Degradation of a battery isn't linear.
Seriously, we are comparing worst situation here, reallity is that other ev will be at least 70% after 10 years. Its the same battery manufacturer than many other EVs.
 

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Yes, we are. I'm just pointing out that what Subaru is promising is well above what is required by law, and may end up being a substantial improvement over what other cars are doing. Or not. Reach out to me in a decade and I'll let you know. With the pace of technological development in the battery industry, it's a distinct possibility that any car with a lithium battery will be obsolete in 5 years.

I'll offer one final thought: I work for a Fortune 100 company (for 22 years). I've been in a awful lot of meetings where we took the best data we had and made the best decisions we could, only to have it turn out later that we screwed the pooch. But I've never been in a meeting where we decided to deliberately shaft the customer. Time may well prove that some of the decisions made during the Solterra / Buzzcocks design process turn out to be suboptimal, but I'll bet good money that no one decided to deliver a substandard product.
 

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...Time may well prove that some of the decisions made during the Solterra / Buzzcocks design process turn out to be suboptimal, but I'll bet good money that no one decided to deliver a substandard product.
I believe Subaru goes above and beyond to try and provide the best product possible in a cost conscious package (and is backed up by their superior customer service). I also believe Toyota prioritizes cost above all else, and is focused on the "Minimum Viable Product" approach that GE has made so famous -- the maximum profit for the minimum expenditure. This is why I won't buy anything GE makes and why I stopped buying Toyota's.

After 12 Subaru's I couldn't be happier, but I'll guarantee there were some really contentious product development discussions during the Solterra development. I think it's obvious Toyota's attitude was that they had to make a compliance-type vehicle and get it to market quickly, but from the interview videos with the Subaru product development team, (and the Snow Test Drive), I think their contributions of the joint project were an honest attempt at a superior vehicle and it is also clear their primary responsibility was the drive systems. So I certainly agree there were decisions made from both sides aligned with their business intentions or needs, and to paraphrase (and agree with) what you said, the success of the vehicle lies in the lasting question of whether the effort in certain areas will outweigh the lack of attention to technological prowess in others.
 

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Yes, we are. I'm just pointing out that what Subaru is promising is well above what is required by law, and may end up being a substantial improvement over what other cars are doing. Or not. Reach out to me in a decade and I'll let you know. With the pace of technological development in the battery industry, it's a distinct possibility that any car with a lithium battery will be obsolete in 5 years.

I'll offer one final thought: I work for a Fortune 100 company (for 22 years). I've been in a awful lot of meetings where we took the best data we had and made the best decisions we could, only to have it turn out later that we screwed the pooch. But I've never been in a meeting where we decided to deliberately shaft the customer. Time may well prove that some of the decisions made during the Solterra / Buzzcocks design process turn out to be suboptimal, but I'll bet good money that no one decided to deliver a substandard product.
But it's not promised, it was a marketing speech in December. They also said to medias that Canada was getting the Panasonic battery in Solterra AWD, which is not true: Toyota warns BZ4X AWD fast-charging slows below freezing (see the end of article)

Deciding the use the CATL battery for Canadian climate can't be considered a good decision, it's without a doubt a bad decision not considering customers. Don't forget thatSubaru is not alone in this, Toyota do all it can against EVs and publicly say that there is No Demand for EV !!!
 

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But it's not promised, it was a marketing speech in December. They also said to medias that Canada was getting the Panasonic battery in Solterra AWD, which is not true: Toyota warns BZ4X AWD fast-charging slows below freezing (see the end of article)

Deciding the use the CATL battery for Canadian climate can't be considered a good decision, it's without a doubt a bad decision not considering customers. Don't forget thatSubaru is not alone in this, Toyota do all it can against EVs and publicly say that there is No Demand for EV !!!
I'm just not following your logic here. "It's not promised, it was a marketing speech in December." So when the President of SoA says 90% after 10 years, he's only blowing smoke and no one is going to remember that? And he's about to knowingly deliver a vehicle that won't deliver on that statement, which is bound to be considered a promise by anyone listening? That's not how successful executives or companies are built.

The battery issue is more complicated. Designing and building a car isn't like building a Lego set. You can't just suddenly decide to use one part and not another unless it's identical form, fit and function.

Was the design and engineering team aware of the effects of temperature on the battery charging rates? I think they probably were, but for standardization of production and shipment, you don't want to customize a vehicle for every single market. I will also note that the Buzzforks omits a heat pump (most likely for cost reasons), which largely mitigates that problem on the Solterra.

Again, I think this is just a lot of 20/20 hindsight and second guessing of the design team based on disappointment with published specs, and not on any realistic assessment of the design and business decisions made during the development process.
 

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Don’t forget that if Toyota says EVs are bad and there is no demand, it seems likely that the loser will ultimately be Toyota. Whether they like it or not, hydrogen will be limited to niche markets.
I think Toyota uses that tactic because they are the only ones thinking logically. I don't think its the right way to say it, but they aren't wrong in their thinking. PHEV is definitely more logical over thr course of the next 10 years because they require less battery/minerals so the current supplies can allow the production of 4-5 vehicles instead of 1. A BEV (or alternative fuel like hydrogen) future is definitely coming and is definitely the way to go. However, the speed at which these dumb ass governments and die hard EV fans like the tesla fan boys think its coming or think it can happen are completely nuts. The mining supply alone is a massive barrier, also the battery production itself. These governments want to force and mandate things by 2035 and other dates. But they are also holding up permits or not fueling the growth fast enough in mining and production. Also, I read one article that said we need about 30ish% more electricity than we do right now. I also don't see governments permitting or building out this infrastructure to make the grid ready. I appreciate the ambitious goals of these governments, but they look great on paper and for media headlines. They aren't taking the action to support these goals imo.
 

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I'm just not following your logic here. "It's not promised, it was a marketing speech in December." So when the President of SoA says 90% after 10 years, he's only blowing smoke and no one is going to remember that? And he's about to knowingly deliver a vehicle that won't deliver on that statement, which is bound to be considered a promise by anyone listening? That's not how successful executives or companies are built.
Don't know if the SoA President really said that, but I hope you're not surprised that a president promise something and do not deliver. Toyota Exec said in 2021 "The target set for the upcoming Toyota bZ4X and following BEVs is 90% of initial battery capacity (and range) maintained over 10 years of usage. ", the word "target" here is really important. The official number is 70% and they are not promising 90% anywhere.

The battery issue is more complicated. Designing and building a car isn't like building a Lego set. You can't just suddenly decide to use one part and not another unless it's identical form, fit and function.
You know that Solterra and bZ4x AWD are using the Panasonic battery in Europe, Japan, and probably other markets? It's already engineered and integrated.

Was the design and engineering team aware of the effects of temperature on the battery charging rates? I think they probably were, but for standardization of production and shipment, you don't want to customize a vehicle for every single market. I will also note that the Buzzforks omits a heat pump (most likely for cost reasons), which largely mitigates that problem on the Solterra.
It seems that they did the exactly the opposite, they customized the vehicle for some market (different battery pack) and they always did anyway. For exemple, the base model in US doesn't have same options included. All trims are different and it make sense, in Canada you usually get Heated seats/steering included in base versions, but optional in the US
 
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