Motor Image, the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in Singapore, launched the Subaru Forester e-BOXER with EyeSight at the Singapore Motorshow 2020. The e-BOXER system is a self-charging, mild hybrid that combines battery-powered electric motor assistance with two of Subaru’s core technologies i.e. Boxer Engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. With the addition of the hybrid system, the Forester now offers smoother and more responsive acceleration, enhanced off-road capability and better efficiency.
The e-BOXER system is capable of automatically switching between three driving modes: EV (pure electric), Engine (petrol engine only), and Motor Assist (electric motor and petrol engine combined).
In EV mode, power is supplied only by the electric motor. EV mode activates in driving conditions where petrol engine power is not efficient e.g. when the vehicle is accelerating from standstill or in slow traffic. If more power is needed or if the battery charge level is low, the engine starts up and will switch to either Motor Assist or Engine mode.
Under low-load driving conditions, e.g. cruising, the vehicle will run on Engine mode. In Engine mode, the petrol engine powers the car and also recharges the high-voltage lithium-ion battery.
Battery regeneration happens when the vehicle decelerates upon the accelerator being released or when the brake pedal is pressed. When accelerating or under higher loads, the vehicle will run on Motor Assist mode – both the petrol engine and the electric motor automatically provide power together. The power-split ratio between the electric motor and petrol engine will depend on the driver’s throttle input. The system adjusts to optimise performance between the electric motor and petrol engine for a smoother, more efficient and environmentally-friendlier drive.
When the brake pedal is released, the electric motor enables the vehicle to continue creeping forwards in EV mode. The e-BOXER system offers a highly efficient combined fuel consumption of 6.7L/100km, in addition to 196 Nm of torque from the petrol engine and 66 Nm from the electric motor.
The instantaneous electric torque also enhances X-MODE’s off-road capabilities. In X-MODE, Motor Assist activates earlier at 0 km/h (4 km/h in normal driving and I and S Modes) to improve power and acceleration from a complete stop. X-MODE helps drivers tackle the trickiest of terrains – elevating driving confidence while ensuring greater convenience in managing different road conditions.
Drivers can get a clear visualisation of the electric motor and petrol engine energy flow via a high-resolution 6.3″ Multi-Function Display (MFD), situated conveniently in the driver’s line of sight.
An all-round improved driving experience
The electric motor of the Forester e-BOXER is placed near the vehicle’s centre of gravity, while the battery and other components are arranged above the rear axle, realising even lower centre of gravity and better-balanced front and rear vehicle weight distribution than the regular Forester. Even with the extra weight from the electric components, the strengthened vehicle undercarriage of the Forester e-BOXER helps maintain the uniquely satisfying driving feel of Subaru vehicles.
Placing the electric motor in the transmission case helped implement e-BOXER technology without having to change the basic structural layout of the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. Based on Lineartronic in Subaru’s petrol vehicles, a motor, a designated clutch and control valve were added. The transmission case was customised exclusively for e-BOXER Lineartronic, helping reduce vibrations, unwanted noise and extra weight.
The result of it all is even more peace of mind from its responsive handling characteristics, improved driving stability and the practicality of a 509-litre boot. The rear seats can also be folded down for a flat cargo floor, allowing storage of luggage and equipment for various activities. The Forester e-BOXER’s 8″ infotainment system is also equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for fewer distractions, better safety.
The Forester e-BOXER is built on the Subaru Global Platform and comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. EyeSight assists in keeping you and your passengers out of harm’s way. It looks ahead, measures distance from objects and alerts you at the first sign of danger.
Under certain conditions, it even applies braking force to mitigate collision. The Forester e-BOXER continues to uphold passenger and driver safety as a top priority. The EyeSight package on the Forester e-BOXER features:
- Pre-Collision Braking
- Pre-Collision Throttle Management
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Lead Vehicle Start Alert
- Lane Departure Warning
- Lane Sway Warning
The Forester e-BOXER is also updated with Reverse Automatic Braking. If there is the risk of a rear collision when reversing the vehicle, the system alerts the driver. If the driver does not apply the brakes, the system applies the brakes to help avoid or reduce the severity of a rear collision.
A 360° Around View Monitor (AVM) system, comprising four cameras – each on the front, sides and back of the vehicle – offer 360° visibility. This enables drivers to park and manoeuvre in tight spaces more easily, thus also reducing the risk of rim damage due to kerb rash.
Will the Forester e-BOXER make it to Malaysia? Besides having to consider consumer demand, that also depends very much on the practical costs and incentives from the government in order to keep the retail price at an acceptable level.