Electric STI race car concept, Solterra STI prototype

Although Subaru has been a bit late to fully embrace electric motorism, the brand shows no sign of turning its back on its racing and rally heritage in the shift.

To prove it, look no further than the two electric cars it unveiled on Friday at Tokyo Auto Salon 2022: a version of Subaru Solterra electric SUV, in sporty STI shape, and a full-on electric race car.

The four-engine STI E-RA Challenge Project carries the “RA” award given to Subaru’s most performance-focused models. Its four engines provide a combined 1,072 hp, with torque vectoring provided by individual engine management and each engine part of a modular gearbox and inverter provided by Yamaha.

Yamaha 350-kw electric motor

Yamaha 350-kw electric motor

This is in line with what Yamaha announced last year – that it intends to do so to drive some very fast electric cars, specifically with high-output motor systems up to “intended for installation and use in hyper-EVs and other high-output applications.”

E-RA’s lithium-ion battery pack is only 60 kwh – though out of context battery pack used in Formula E. is 54 kwh; this is not designed to be a 500-mile roadtrip machine.

The Solterra STI does not claim a boost in performance yet compared to Subaru’s upcoming Solterra electric SUV, but it does boast an extra roof spoiler, cherry red aerobatic trim, “other special parts on its exterior.” With the extra equipment, “the model inspired Subaru’s superior driving dynamics,” the company says.

Subaru Solterra prototype

Subaru Solterra prototype

2023 Subaru Solterrais is expected to arrive at US retailers around the summer of 2022, and in the specified specification so far, it does not look entirely performance-oriented, with 0-60 mph times in seven-second range, with a combined 215 hp from its dual-engine system. Solterra was developed together with Toyota bZ4X, so any money invested in a more sporty version of the models could be a potential to-fer.

So far, the STI is only a tease, as no plans have yet been announced in any market for a Solterra STI production car. But consider the Solterra STI – with E-RA as proof – as a strong first sign that Subaru’s performance pedigree will not be exclusive to internal combustion.

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