Toyota and Subaru join forces for electric SUV

Toyota and Subaru are taking their collaborative forces further. The two Japanese companies announced Thursday they will jointly develop an electric vehicle platform that will underpin a new SUV.

The platform will support a compact SUV, per the announcement, and both Toyota and Subaru will eventually produce a version of the vehicle. The companies said each will bring their expertise to the engineering table to develop the platform. Subaru will be responsible for the all-wheel-drive system and how it integrates with Toyota’s know-how of electric powertrains, batteries, and motors.

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid - First Drive, Santa Barbara CA, Nov. 2019

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid – First Drive, Santa Barbara CA, Nov. 2019

The latest partnership is a big step for Toyota and Subaru. The two began working together in 2005 with various collaborative efforts. In 2012, the two ushered the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S (which later became the Toyota 86) into the world as a jointly developed sports car. Subaru also uses Toyota hybrid technology for its Crosstrek plug-in hybrid. Toyota owns a 16.77 percent stake in Subaru.

Both Toyota and Subaru said partnerships like this one are essential as the automotive industry continues a rather rapid upheaval. Emissions regulations continue to force automakers to adapt to new technologies such as mild-hybrid systems and greater electrification. Developing costly technology like electric powertrains and platforms is hardly inexpensive, which makes partnerships such as the Toyota-Subaru relationship increasingly common. Jaguar and BMW also announced a similar tie-up this month.

Eventually, the platform could spawn additional vehicles. Toyota said the architecture will be scalable, which may make it large enough to underpin mid-size sedans and SUVs.

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