Subaru will name electric crossover Evoltis

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Two years ago, Subaru Japan applied to trademark the name “Evoltis” in the U.S. At the time, it was thought the name would accompany the brand’s new plug-in hybrid or some component of the hybrid system. Instead, the PHEV we got returned the Crosstrek Hybrid name to active use, after Subaru retired the first non-plug-in Crosstrek Hybrid in 2016. Whither the Evoltis, then? According to CarBuzz, citing “reports from Japan,” Subaru will apply the moniker to a coming battery-electric crossover it is developing with Toyota. The automaker previewed the concept version of the crossover in January of this year during a technical meeting in Japan, built atop a flexible platform to accommodate multiple production vehicles from both brands.

Subaru’s known for exciting concepts that get stripped to comparative blandness for production. Perhaps tired of the ensuing vitriol, reports say Subaru’s inverting the process this time, the production model promising to be more radical than the concept. That won’t be difficult, seeing the concept looked like an appliance from a low-budget sci-fi movie, and if not for the Pleiades badge on the front fascia most enthusiasts probably would have thought the concept was a Toyota. Underneath the eventual sheetmetal, rumors figure electric motors turning both axles will combine to produce about 280 horsepower, supplied by a battery stout enough for a range of more than 300 miles — note, that could be a Japanese-cycle figure for range.

The concept sat next to a cutaway of a boxer engine, so it’s possible there’ll be a number of powertrains on offer. Additional tech could include the next generation of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistants, and cameras providing a 360-degree view around the crossover. The debut’s been mentioned for October 2021, which would be the same month as the next Tokyo Motor Show. Market launch won’t happen until nearly 2025.

From left field comes news of another Evoltis, however. TopGear magazine and other outlets from the Philippines write that our Ascent is headed to the island nation in the third quarter of this year. Instead of taking that name to Southeast Asia, it will get the name Evoltis — that’s what Glenn Tan, the deputy chairman and managing director of Subaru’s Philippines distributor Tan Chong International, told journalists at this year’s Singapore Motor Show. There won’t be any electrical bits to that Evoltis, just the 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder we now have here, with 260 hp and 277 pound-feet of torque routed through a Lineartonic CVT. For now, at least.

We aren’t sure how the Philippines update aligns with the battery-electric vehicle. Reports say the Subie/Toyota platform is being developed for midsize and large sedans, but when it comes to crossovers, the platform will support C-segment entries like the Crosstrek — although some believe the larger Forester and Toyota RAV4 could be included, too. Those crossovers are all smaller than the Ascent, though; the Forester is 14 inches shorter in length, the Crosstrek 21 inches shorter. Considering Subaru’s plans for 40% of its sales to be electrified by 2030, there’ll be a lot of realigning before everything’s sorted, so we’ll look forward to Tokyo 2021 to know more.

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Saurabh Shukla

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