Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the maker of Subaru automobiles, today announced the successful development of its Subaru Plug-in STELLA Concept model, a prototype electric vehicle (EV). FHI will provide five units of the Plug-in STELLA Concept for use at the Hokkaido Toyako Summit to be held July 7 through 9, 2008. Four of the five will be used to transport government officials and other participants at the summit, while one vehicle will be displayed at the Environmental Showcase, an exhibition and demonstration area in the International Media Center, and it will also be available for a test drive.

In addition, FHI will provide one STELLA Concept model to the Japan Post group for use in mail collection and delivery in the vicinity of Toyako during the summit.

The Subaru Plug-in STELLA Concept combines the EV system employed in the R1e with the mini car, Subaru STELLA. The resulting vehicle represents an optimized model that features the compact packaging and superb utility that the STELLA offers to meet a wider array of market needs. FHI plans to use the Plug-in STELLA Concept in the development and test-marketing of the next generation of EV in Japan in the near future.

FHI has jointly developed the Subaru R1e with Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO), a leading utility in Japan, and the vehicle's performance has been tested since June 2006. Forty units of the R1e model, equipped with lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries, have been used by TEPCO as part of its corporate fleet and by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, providing performance results that further advance FHI's EV development work. Such data collected under real-world conditions have helped FHI to refine the concept of the next-generation EV and make further improvements in convenience and comfort under everyday driving situations.

FHI has placed emphasis on its mission to pursue the perfect integration of a pleasant and reliable driving with environmental considerations. While seamlessly improving the power units design and introducing such cleaner engines as the Horizontally-Opposed diesel engine in Europe (available since March of this year), the company has positioned EVs as another viable solution for environmental preservation, and it plans to accelerate its EV development work.