Subaru’s first two hybrid cars in Australia have not delivered the expected fuel-economy savings. The company says it working on improvements to further petrol-electric vehicles.
Subaru Australia says Japan is already working on better and more efficient hybrid technology after the first two examples introduced locally – the Subaru XV Hybrid and the Subaru Forester Hybrid – received a lukewarm reception amid worse than expected fuel savings.
Although it wears a familiar hybrid name, Subaru hybrid owners are discovering there is a difference between hybrid systems offered by different manufacturers.
Testing by Drive has found Toyota hybrid vehicles use about half the fuel of their conventional petrol-powered counterparts – but the improvements in efficiency of Subaru hybrids are hard to measure as they are marginal by comparison.
When asked if Subaru had received negative feedback from customers regarding the real-world fuel consumption of the Subaru XV Hybrid and Subaru Forester Hybrid, the boss of Subaru Australia, Blair Read, told Drive:
“Hybrid for us … was an introductory step to the technology. We’ve had, I would say, reasonable success.
“We’ve seen some good uptake from existing customers moving over (to hybrid models) and it’s been a first transition into hybrid for them.
“Would we love to see that technology become more fuel-efficient and provide better performance and efficiency to customers? Absolutely. That is something that is in the pipeline and something that we’re working towards.
“Subaru Corporation announced early last month at one of their recent updates, that there’s a large investment into greater manufacturing capability over the next couple of years in both (electric vehicle) production and hybrid production.
“There are plans afoot to increase the (number of hybrid cars produced) and also the improvements in the product itself.
“It’s something we’re really working with Japan on and we see a good opportunity … to develop the hybrid offering and provide advancements in that technology for customers.
“You will definitely see evolution in that product as we move into future model years, and improvements in the offering – and gains in the technology – as it develops.”