Subaru has announced an upgraded specification for its plug-in STELLA electric car which will be launched in Japan mid-year. Power has been increased by seven Kilowatts to 47 kW, torque is up 20 Newton metres to 170 Nm and 50 kilograms has been cut from the weight of the vehicle. The sophisticated lithium ion battery pack is smaller and the energy output management refined, though no price has yet been announced.

The instrument panel and interior have also been changed.

15 examples of the latest prototype are to be tested by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.

They will be used by five prefectural and city governments: four by Kanagawa Prefecture, three each by Aichi Prefecture, Osaka Prefecture and Hyogo Prefecture, and one each by Yokohama City and Japan Post Service Co., Ltd. Specifications of the production version are expected to be the same as the latest prototype. Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), the maker of Subaru vehicles, jointly developed the earlier Subaru R1e electric vehicle with the Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. in 2006.

Using knowledge gained through the R1e project, FHI successfully developed the original concept version of the Plug-in STELLA in June 2008.

Five were used at the Hokkaido Toyako Summit and by the Japan Post group for mail collection and delivery.

FHI plans to test-market production models of plug-in STELLA from July this year in Japan. Around 170 are planned for delivery during this fiscal year. Pricing is yet to be announced.

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