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Subaru Concept: R1e Urban Electric

Subaru Concept: R1e Urban Electric

The Electric Vehicle revolution is speeding up year on year and seems set for the final breakthrough which has long been predicted. However, while high-performance cars like the Tesla fight for attention with family-oriented EV SUVs from Kia, Hyundai, and others, there's a radically different format that could creep up from behind to steal the show.

 

The R1e concept car from Subaru is still at the prototype stage, but it offers a radically different take on the EV which may find plenty of eager buyers once it becomes a showroom reality. What does the model hold in store? Read our Subaru R1e Urban Electric review to find out.

 

Overall Concept

 

Rather than producing a drop-in EV replacement for a standard family SUV or sporty coupe, the R1e Urban Electric concept takes an unusual turn. Built to an extremely compact size and equipped with a fast-charging battery, the R1e doesn't aim for high performance or hugely extended ranges.

 

In fact, on paper, the R1e seems curiously underpowered with its top speed of 100km/h and a maximum range of roughly 80km. While these figures lag way behind the best offered from other manufacturers - and indeed other models in the Subaru stable - taking them at face value is perhaps missing the point.

 

The R1e, as the Urban Electric label suggests, is aimed firmly at city driving, where maneuvrability, fast battery charging, and highly efficient operation are more important than sports performance or highway-devouring electric ranges.

 

With this in mind, the R1e seats only two - no family ambitions here - and offers excellent battery performance. A fast charge to 80% can be achieved in as little as 15 minutes, which can be reduced even further to 8 minutes if high-performance charging is used.

 

Even a full charge won't cause many inconveniences, with overnight attachment to a domestic supply enough to fully load the battery.

 

Clearly, this efficiency would take plenty of the worry and inconvenience out of EV ownership, in comparison to the larger, higher-performance models with more demanding juice requirements.

 

Lower Priced Charging, Lower Priced Buying

 

Another advantage of the R1e's diminutive size and deliberately limited performance is that charging is highly economical. With less weight to carry, and at lower speeds for shorter distances, the battery can be small enough to charge for a typical $2, making the R1e a potentially highly economical car to drive.

 

And what's more, the Japanese makers are aiming to produce this car at an extremely low cost, aiming eventually to hit the milestone US$15,000 point which would see true mass-market appeal.

 

When Will the Subaru R1e Arrive?

 

If the Urban Electric concept sounds like the development that'll finally encourage you into EV ownership, it's perhaps best not to hold your breath too expectantly. As a concept car, it's unknown when - or even if - the R1e will make it into Canadian showrooms, at least in its current form.

 

However, as a glimpse of one direction in which Subaru are taking the all-electric idea, the R1e offers an intriguing prospect with a unique appeal compared to more mainstream EV rivals.

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