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Old 01-17-2024, 08:01 PM   #1
banyan
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News Subaru Just Made A Huge Leap In The Global Race To Electrify Its AWD Lineup


Subaru was once the least likely automaker to produce new electric vehicles and needed to be faster in developing new EVs. I covered this story 18 months ago when I reported that Subaru was still not sold on having an all-EV lineup. Turn the page to 2024; everything has changed for the small Japanese automaker.

A new report from Automotive News (by subscription) says Subaru Corporation is about to change its electric vehicle product plan significantly.

AN says, "On January 8, about 2,000 engineers (2,800 people will eventually work there), programmers, and stylists began reporting to work for the first time at a massive global research and development and design center that has opened north of Tokyo. The global race to electrify will be a key focus."

The new seven-story "Innovation Hub" is a state-of-the-art facility that will cater to employees and give them an environment that will inspire creativity.

"But the real breakthrough comes from new engineering and design tools," says the report.

Subaru says it will be able to slash its new electric vehicle costs and development time with the high-tech center in Japan. Subaru executives say the upgrades will help the automaker halve product development lead times and costs while also enabling it to halve the number of parts used and required production processes.

"We are proceeding intending to cut development time, process, and cost in half," Hiroshi Watahiki, Subaru's senior vice president for engineering, said during a facility tour in December.

"By achieving these holistically, we aim to speed up the process, strengthen Subaru's product competitiveness, and satisfy our customers with high quality."

As I reported in August 2023, new Subaru Corporation CEO Atsushi Osaki announced the new ramped-up EV plan. The Japanese automaker wants to get half its global volume, an estimated 600,000 units, from full-electric models in 2030. Osaki envisions worldwide sales of 1.2 million vehicles by the decade's end.

As I also reported, Subaru's in-house EV production in Japan will start in 2025, in line with an annual capacity of about 200,000 vehicles. Subaru will add a line dedicated to EV production in Japan around 2027 with an additional capacity of 200,000 cars. Meanwhile, it plans to localize EV output for the U.S.

The report says Subaru spent about $206.6 million on the Innovation Hub, and construction began in 2021. Subaru plans to put $10.3 billion into electrification through 2030. That sum does not include the Innovation Hub but covers $1.7 billion already announced for retooling domestic production.

Global design boss Tatsuhito Itano oversees Subaru's new elaborate design center. Subaru says the new workspace will allow the design teams to work on 13 vehicles simultaneously.

"Against one wall is a massive liquid-crystal display big enough to simultaneously view virtual renderings of three life-size vehicles," the AN report says. The state-of-the-art building also has excellent 3D printing and virtual reality capabilities.

"This is a significant improvement because face-to-face communication is essential," Watahiki said. "We want to raise ourselves to the world's cutting-edge level."

https://www.torquenews.com/1084/new-...its-awd-lineup
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Old 01-20-2024, 05:50 PM   #2
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The proof will be in the pudding. I'm skeptical. 2025 is just next year, and no way can they ramp up with new staff and expertise that quickly to make their own EVs. Even 2030 is not that far off to be able to produce 600,000 EVs per year. And who will want to buy a brand new unproven EV from a manufacturer with almost no experience and is rushing to catch up.


I have a Solterra (built by Toyota), and it was several years in development before finally becoming fully available just a year ago. Yet despite Toyota's deep pockets and long history with hybrids, it was a very poor 1st BEV offering. The car drives nicely, is good off-road, and has other good attributes. But its fast charging capability is really awful. They should have done much better. So if Toyota can't do it, I can't see Subaru doing it better.


Luckily for me, I have another BEV that works well for trips so not a problem for me personally. But the Solterra sure is a big disappointment for a lot of 1st time BEV buyers.



As a contrast, I also have a Hyundai Ioniq 6, which is my 2nd Hyundai BEV, a 2019 Kona was my 1st. To say it is light years ahead of the Solterra would be an understatement. Even the old Kona which would be 5 years old now is way ahead of the Solterra on the EV side. So with that kind of lead and experience, I just can't see Subaru coming up with a competitive offering in just over a year, and be ready for mass production by 2030. Hyundai and others are not going to stand still with their EV development incl improving their cost efficiencies.



So my advice to Subaru, is stick with Toyota to share the EV platform, and keep the Subaru brand flavour, but forget about starting from scratch for your own EV development. That is your best chance for long term survival as a car maker.

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Old 01-20-2024, 08:29 PM   #3
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The proof will be in the pudding. I'm skeptical. 2025 is just next year, and no way can they ramp up with new staff and expertise that quickly to make their own EVs. Even 2030 is not that far off to be able to produce 600,000 EVs per year. And who will want to buy a brand new unproven EV from a manufacturer with almost no experience and is rushing to catch up.


I have a Solterra (built by Toyota), and it was several years in development before finally becoming fully available just a year ago. Yet despite Toyota's deep pockets and long history with hybrids, it was a very poor 1st BEV offering. The car drives nicely, is good off-road, and has other good attributes. But its fast charging capability is really awful. They should have done much better. So if Toyota can't do it, I can't see Subaru doing it better.


Luckily for me, I have another BEV that works well for trips so not a problem for me personally. But the Solterra sure is a big disappointment for a lot of 1st time BEV buyers.



As a contrast, I also have a Hyundai Ioniq 6, which is my 2nd Hyundai BEV, a 2019 Kona was my 1st. To say it is light years ahead of the Solterra would be an understatement. Even the old Kona which would be 5 years old now is way ahead of the Solterra on the EV side. So with that kind of lead and experience, I just can't see Subaru coming up with a competitive offering in just over a year, and be ready for mass production by 2030. Hyundai and others are not going to stand still with their EV development incl improving their cost efficiencies.



So my advice to Subaru, is stick with Toyota to share the EV platform, and keep the Subaru brand flavour, but forget about starting from scratch for your own EV development. That is your best chance for long term survival as a car maker.



Subaru isn't "starting" with this building. They have already been working on their own. Will have 4 available by 2028(after 4 collaborations....8 total). The complaints about your Solterra are not unfounded; but, it still offered capability that few to no other manufacturers offered. THEN, have you tried to get the update that will cut your charge time in half?


The Solterra/BZ4X took 4 years from beginning of the project to production. A new model typically takes 7. Something else that's mentioned they are trying to improve on.



Subaru has been researching EV for a very long time. They have certainly been slow; but, I suspect that is due to the cost of it. Enter Toyota and that cash machine and you have a quick answer to a vehicle and more knowledge to improve their own.



Their plant has got to be close to being finished. A full dedicated EV plant. How much can their other plants push out? That number doesn't sound too far fetched.

I find all these "advises" to Subaru over the years on how to survive the future comical considering how well they have been doing. I think they've got this.
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Old 01-21-2024, 09:54 AM   #4
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Subaru isn't "starting" with this building. They have already been working on their own. Will have 4 available by 2028(after 4 collaborations....8 total). The complaints about your Solterra are not unfounded; but, it still offered capability that few to no other manufacturers offered. THEN, have you tried to get the update that will cut your charge time in half?


The Solterra/BZ4X took 4 years from beginning of the project to production. A new model typically takes 7. Something else that's mentioned they are trying to improve on.



Subaru has been researching EV for a very long time. They have certainly been slow; but, I suspect that is due to the cost of it. Enter Toyota and that cash machine and you have a quick answer to a vehicle and more knowledge to improve their own.



Their plant has got to be close to being finished. A full dedicated EV plant. How much can their other plants push out? That number doesn't sound too far fetched.

I find all these "advises" to Subaru over the years on how to survive the future comical considering how well they have been doing. I think they've got this.
It may be semantics, but since they have yet to produce a BEV on their own, I call it starting.


I agree and said the Solterra has great attributes other than charging, like off-road capability. That's why I bought it. But most people that bought it are very upset with its slow DC fast charging. That is a very big black eye for this vehicle.


And please tell me about the update that cuts my charge time to 80% in half. I have the update that sped up the charge time by many hours from 80 to 100% at a DC charger. But I call that fixing a glitch, as that issue just added insult to the abominable DC charge time to 80%. However, it was meaningless because on a trip, you normally don't charge past 80%, as even a fast charging EV like the 800V Hyundais slow down after that.
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Old 01-21-2024, 10:32 AM   #5
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At this point, you are an idiot if you road trip in a BEV between unpredictable range, charger access (due to crowding), and chargers actually working. Use them for what they are really good for and they are fantastic. But these people trying to make BEVs a 600 mile roadtrip vehicle are out of their minds and not saving any money at $.35-50/kwh DC fast charging rates.
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Old 01-21-2024, 11:45 AM   #6
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Ok great, can y’all start by making an Ioniq 5 N hatch competitor that costs maybe 60K and make Subaru exciting again? Oh heck, who am I kidding, incoming Tribeca Plastic EV 200 mile range.
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Old 01-21-2024, 02:25 PM   #7
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It may be semantics, but since they have yet to produce a BEV on their own, I call it starting.


I agree and said the Solterra has great attributes other than charging, like off-road capability. That's why I bought it. But most people that bought it are very upset with its slow DC fast charging. That is a very big black eye for this vehicle.


And please tell me about the update that cuts my charge time to 80% in half. I have the update that sped up the charge time by many hours from 80 to 100% at a DC charger. But I call that fixing a glitch, as that issue just added insult to the abominable DC charge time to 80%. However, it was meaningless because on a trip, you normally don't charge past 80%, as even a fast charging EV like the 800V Hyundais slow down after that.

Ah, but they have. It was more of a test and long ago; but, from the minimal info from it, it was a success. Being soo long ago why no larger scale full production? My experience with Subaru over all these years, I do still lean to cost. Now they have help from a company with both experience and cash. Subaru had a direct injected motor in the middle 90s. How long after that did they finally put it in a car? They have also played with some hybrids(and continued to in Japan and on more than one model) and they will have some experience under their belt helping with the Solterra/BZ4X.



You got the Solterra fresh out of the gate. Why was that? Cause it's Toyota? Well, they had a "Toyota" issue right out of the gate. Actually, before the gate was even open. Not that I don't trust a Toyota product; but, I'll certainly trust a Subaru one(shocker, right?!?!).
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Old 01-21-2024, 05:30 PM   #8
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but since they have yet to produce a BEV on their own, I call it starting.

Starting over perhaps. Subaru was ahead of the game with lithium ion BEVs. They partnered with NEC in the early 2000’s to make batteries for BEVs and produced the R1e and Stella BEVs. Subaru had the know how and chose to shutter their BEV operations because they saw no paths to profitability at their scale.

Solterra is meant to be a decent compliance vehicle. Toyota stated that the platform was a low investment BEV platform and not a high investment one. They, along with the other Japanese OEMs got caught with their pants down when US, China, and Euro governments stood on business regarding ICE. Now they’ll have to make competitive BEVs going forward.
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Old 01-21-2024, 06:12 PM   #9
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You got the Solterra fresh out of the gate. Why was that? Cause it's Toyota? Well, they had a "Toyota" issue right out of the gate. Actually, before the gate was even open. Not that I don't trust a Toyota product; but, I'll certainly trust a Subaru one(shocker, right?!?!).
I already told you why I bought it, and being built by Toyota was a bonus. The wheel bolts fix was a nothing burger to me. I think they just used it to delay deliveries due to supply chain shortages. No reason that something as simple as that should result in a 6+ month delay.


But you didn't answer my question about the software update. Or was that a joke? You would have to be pretty ignorant about EVs to think that update would improve the DC fast charging in any meaningful way.
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Old 01-21-2024, 06:26 PM   #10
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Solterra is meant to be a decent compliance vehicle. Toyota stated that the platform was a low investment BEV platform and not a high investment one. They, along with the other Japanese OEMs got caught with their pants down when US, China, and Euro governments stood on business regarding ICE. Now they’ll have to make competitive BEVs going forward.
Sold pretty good for a compliance vehicle. Beat their 2023 projection numbers despite the bad rap on the charging.


Since you also work for Subaru, can you tell me why NA got the CATL battery while Australia and EU got the faster charging Panasonic battery?


BTW, the Solterra is my 5th Subaru, and they have all been good vehicles. I also did have a Toyota, and it was solid, too.
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Old 01-21-2024, 09:24 PM   #11
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I already told you why I bought it, and being built by Toyota was a bonus. The wheel bolts fix was a nothing burger to me. I think they just used it to delay deliveries due to supply chain shortages. No reason that something as simple as that should result in a 6+ month delay.


But you didn't answer my question about the software update. Or was that a joke? You would have to be pretty ignorant about EVs to think that update would improve the DC fast charging in any meaningful way.



I don't know about supply chain shortages. I don't know how simple it was/is. A Fix would have to be designed, machined, tested, approved manufactured. Shipped.....and so on. That's after whatever time it took to nail down the exact issue.


Anyway, when did you have the update you mentioned done to yours? I'm not sure when the 2.5 product enhancement reprogramming was/will be available. It's standard on the 24s. Now, the 24s also have hardware updates and the low charge to 80% is lowered to 35 minutes. As I look back on the training, the lowering of the DC fast charging times of the update for the '23s doesn't specify any numbers. I "ignored" that part as being the same as the '24s cause I had heard about the improvements before the training came out. So, though DC charging can be made faster for the '23s with the software update, I currently don't know the direct time improvement.
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Old 01-21-2024, 10:01 PM   #12
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I don't know about supply chain shortages. I don't know how simple it was/is. A Fix would have to be designed, machined, tested, approved manufactured. Shipped.....and so on. That's after whatever time it took to nail down the exact issue.


Anyway, when did you have the update you mentioned done to yours? I'm not sure when the 2.5 product enhancement reprogramming was/will be available. It's standard on the 24s. Now, the 24s also have hardware updates and the low charge to 80% is lowered to 35 minutes. As I look back on the training, the lowering of the DC fast charging times of the update for the '23s doesn't specify any numbers. I "ignored" that part as being the same as the '24s cause I had heard about the improvements before the training came out. So, though DC charging can be made faster for the '23s with the software update, I currently don't know the direct time improvement.
The update was done last fall, but as we know, it did nothing to improve fast charging to 80%.


Yes, the 24 is supposed to have faster DC charging, but as I understand it involves hardware changes. So not likely can be retrofitable to our 23s. I believe they will also have a Panasonic battery which is used in EU and Australia 23 models and charges faster even without the extra battery preconditioning.


Anyway, would be nice to have faster charging for mine, but not essential, as I have another BEV for tripping. The Solterra is my off-road vehicle needed to go to our cabin. And it performed that duty very well last summer. Plus I charge the Solterra there with my off-grid solar system.



I also knew about the slow fast charging before I bought mine, and tried to warn others on the Solterra forum. But most bought without doing much research and are now very unhappy.
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Old 01-22-2024, 01:30 AM   #13
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Sold pretty good for a compliance vehicle. Beat their 2023 projection numbers despite the bad rap on the charging.


Since you also work for Subaru, can you tell me why NA got the CATL battery while Australia and EU got the faster charging Panasonic battery?


BTW, the Solterra is my 5th Subaru, and they have all been good vehicles. I also did have a Toyota, and it was solid, too.
I don’t and I don’t know
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Old 01-22-2024, 06:41 AM   #14
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The update was done last fall, but as we know, it did nothing to improve fast charging to 80%.


Yes, the 24 is supposed to have faster DC charging, but as I understand it involves hardware changes. So not likely can be retrofitable to our 23s. I believe they will also have a Panasonic battery which is used in EU and Australia 23 models and charges faster even without the extra battery preconditioning.


Anyway, would be nice to have faster charging for mine, but not essential, as I have another BEV for tripping. The Solterra is my off-road vehicle needed to go to our cabin. And it performed that duty very well last summer. Plus I charge the Solterra there with my off-grid solar system.



I also knew about the slow fast charging before I bought mine, and tried to warn others on the Solterra forum. But most bought without doing much research and are now very unhappy.







Yeah, there is a new update. When it will actually be available, I don't know. Initially, I took it as the '24s as just being software updates. Like i just mentioned, after doing the training and learning of the hardware changes(which definitely seem not able to upgrade on the '23s or not worth it), there still is a software update that will shorten fast charging. Definitely inquire about it.
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Old 01-22-2024, 09:54 AM   #15
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Yeah, there is a new update. When it will actually be available, I don't know. Initially, I took it as the '24s as just being software updates. Like i just mentioned, after doing the training and learning of the hardware changes(which definitely seem not able to upgrade on the '23s or not worth it), there still is a software update that will shorten fast charging. Definitely inquire about it.
Well, that sure would be great if another software update is coming. Please let us know what you learn. Even if we just get to the charging curve of the Panasonic batteries, that would be a big improvement. It would make a lot of current 23 owners VERY happy.
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Old 01-22-2024, 04:55 PM   #16
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R P, I’ve seen you on SF. More to come soon…

I am glad they are finally taking an in-house approach to EVs. I am sure they will continue to collaborate with Toyota for some time but Subarus biggest competitive advantage has always been in-house. Eyesight, Lineatronic, and just the ability to go against the grain (Boxer, AWD-mostly lineup).
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Old 01-23-2024, 03:23 PM   #17
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Nighthawksti was...RIGHT!!!!
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Old 01-24-2024, 02:51 PM   #18
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They took the leap when they switched to the global platform. That chassis is designed for all different kinds of propulsion, including electric. Subaru could electrify their entire fleet right now if they wanted to. The only thing holding them back is the plastic cladding.

Subaru is probably spending billions to find out how to make the whole car out of plastic like Saturn did. Until then we are stuck with the cladded up WRXtrek with the Ascent engine and a CVT. If ambitious you can opt for the manual that was modeled after an Eaton tractor trailer gearbox (except Subaru made it so it explodes if you throw more than 300 ft lbs of torque at it.)

That awesome STi 6-speed, with DCCD and limited slip diffs? Subaru threw all that in the garbage. Why? Because f-enthusiasts. Appliances only from here on out!

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Old 01-26-2024, 11:50 AM   #19
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Well, that sure would be great if another software update is coming. Please let us know what you learn. Even if we just get to the charging curve of the Panasonic batteries, that would be a big improvement. It would make a lot of current 23 owners VERY happy.
Found out the 2.5 Product Enhancement update has been available since October of last year. Is that the one you got? If it is and not improving the fast charging(certainly not the "by nearly half" the '24s get), then I'd inquire back with your service department.
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Old 01-26-2024, 12:25 PM   #20
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Found out the 2.5 Product Enhancement update has been available since October of last year. Is that the one you got? If it is and not improving the fast charging(certainly not the "by nearly half" the '24s get), then I'd inquire back with your service department.
EEA.23 allegedly only made 80-100% charging quicker, which you will almost never do and certainly not at a DC fast charger. AC charging is still limited to <32A and the 6.6 kWh on-board charger.

It also provided % on the screen and adjusted the range calculator (as it opened up more of the total battery capacity, or just gave less of a buffer below the 0% value).
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Old 01-30-2024, 11:16 PM   #21
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EEA.23 allegedly only made 80-100% charging quicker, which you will almost never do and certainly not at a DC fast charger. AC charging is still limited to <32A and the 6.6 kWh on-board charger.

It also provided % on the screen and adjusted the range calculator (as it opened up more of the total battery capacity, or just gave less of a buffer below the 0% value).



Sorry for the delay. Took me a minute to get an answer. The new updates retro-ing to the '23s do increase the 10-80% fast charging. They won't throw numbers out due to the differences in several areas. Climate, chargers, etc. But the updated '23 fast charging isn't much slower than the '24s
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Old 01-31-2024, 10:13 AM   #22
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Sorry for the delay. Took me a minute to get an answer. The new updates retro-ing to the '23s do increase the 10-80% fast charging. They won't throw numbers out due to the differences in several areas. Climate, chargers, etc. But the updated '23 fast charging isn't much slower than the '24s
No one has been able to show substantial changes, outside of 80-100%. I saw a review of the 2024 in Europe and the new car charged basically at the same rate as the old one. Again, this is all anecdotal. Subaru/Toyota needs to produce real data.
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Old 01-31-2024, 06:28 PM   #23
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No one has been able to show substantial changes, outside of 80-100%. I saw a review of the 2024 in Europe and the new car charged basically at the same rate as the old one. Again, this is all anecdotal. Subaru/Toyota needs to produce real data.

Absolutely. Also, the update came in the colder months and the '23s won't charge as good without that better battery warmer. OR the update has a glitch. That suurreellyy hasn't happened before.
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Old 02-01-2024, 11:08 AM   #24
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Absolutely. Also, the update came in the colder months and the '23s won't charge as good without that better battery warmer. OR the update has a glitch. That suurreellyy hasn't happened before.
Never... I just got off the phone with Solterra support bc the app/profile debacle is miserable.

Last edited by Snow Drift; 02-01-2024 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 02-01-2024, 01:15 PM   #25
co250
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Good, brings up the competition between manufacturers, and should give us some better EV. Still waiting for the Volkswagen Bus though.

If that flops then, back to the drawing board for which EV to go with.
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