The environment surrounding our business is rapidly changing, and we believe we have entered an era where stakeholders not only question our business performance but also our corporate posture and raison d’etre, such as how we contribute as a company to decarbonization and the realization of a sustainable society. Particularly in the U.S., an important market for SUBARU, we have found that there is a generally high level of awareness about global resources and society among our customers. They do not see environmental value in the usual sense—a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, emissions, or size—but instead recognize it in a broader sense, including the three elements of our “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind” value: that our utility and AWD vehicles allow them to do anything with just one car; that our safety causes fewer accidents and no problems for society; and that our reliability and longevity makes them useful over long periods of time and do not lead to wasted resources.
In promoting our electrification strategy, we at SUBARU believe that the most important thing is to assess the convenience of BEVs from a range of perspectives. This includes changes in markets and regulations, as well as changes in customer needs, preferences, and values, plus social infrastructure, while also striving to ensure a high level of financial soundness. Based on this concept, SUBARU will continue to develop products that satisfy customers and bring them happiness in order to meet their expectations and continue to be a brand that is “different.” We will also develop a flexible production system that incorporates the state of the market environment and manufacture environmentally friendly vehicles.
In addition, “the earth, the sky and nature” are SUBARU’s fields of business, and we truly do value the benefits nature provides. The SUBARU Group is committed to increasing the environmental performance of its products and also to protecting the global environment throughout the life cycle of its products, including product use, materials and components, transportation, disposal, and manufacturing.
We need to effectively invest resources in the development of strategic technologies and link technology and management more comprehensively. This will enable us to address new technologies, as symbolized by the EVs that will be key to resolving environmental issues, autonomous driving, and connected car services, which in turn will enable us to deliver appealing products.
SUBARU has therefore transitioned to a development system that organically combines value and function from a development system based on functional units such as vehicle bodies and power units in order to accelerate the development of new technologies such as environmentally responsible EVs. In this system, we are integrating relevant departments and newly establishing departments connected to battery development. We have also created the CTO Office within the Engineering Division as an organization to discuss and decide the future direction of technology development, along with a system to incorporate its outcomes into Group-wide strategies including procurement and manufacturing.
Our objective is to empower a transformation to a Group-wide optimization perspective over a division and vehicle optimization perspective within an organization that is flexibly able to address the technologies of the future. Our development system will evolve into a core platform for creating and delivering environmental and technological value that demonstrates SUBARU-ness.
Establishing a development system for cultivating, enhancing, and accumulating future-generation core technologies that will underpin SUBARU’s future products
In addition, in order to contribute to the realization of a decarbonized society through the reduction of CO2 emissions throughout the life cycle of our business activities, SUBARU has designated departments in charge of the five areas of “product use,” “materials and components,” “transportation,” “disposal,” and “manufacturing” as of FYE March 2022. We now also hold monthly CN Promotion Meetings, bringing together representatives from the relevant departments in each area. In these CN Promotion Meetings, members shared information from each area, formulated a master plan from a medium- to long-term perspective, and visualized the transition of emissions in each area. We will continue to implement reduction measures in accordance with this master plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Approach to CO2 emissions reduction from an LCA perspective
Governance Structure for Climate Change
Medium- to Long-Term Goals (Long-Term Vision and Milestones)
In order to contribute to a decarbonized society, SUBARU has set long-term goals (long-term vision) for reducing CO2 emissions and medium-term goals (milestones) to complement them.
Even in the EV era, we will strengthen SUBARU-ness and work to manufacture environmentally responsible automobiles in line with our medium- to long-term goals for 2030 and 2050. We also plan to revise our goals as needed to meet future demands for measures against climate change.
- On a well-to-wheel*1 basis, we will pursue our goal of reducing the average CO2 emissions from new vehicles (in operation) sold worldwide by at least 90%*2 by 2050, compared with 2010.
- In the early 2030s, all commercial SUBARU cars*3 will be equipped with electrification technology*4.
- By 2030, we will pursue our goal of making at least 40% of SUBARU global sales EVs or HEVs.
Furthermore, we have set the target of proceeding with research and development with the goal of using recycled materials*5 for more than 25% of the plastics used in new models*4 released worldwide by 2030 to help address the global waste plastic problem. To achieve this target, we are working to establish quality standards for recycled plastics and a raw material recovery scheme.
Strategic reorganization of domestic production
In order to accelerate our roadmap toward 2050, SUBARU is implementing a strategic reorganization of its domestic production system and plans to invest 250 billion yen over five years starting from FYE March 2024. The two main goals of the reorganization of the production system are to build a flexible system that can ensure production of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and HEVs as needed during the transition to BEVs and to achieve efficient BEV production in the BEV business, where profitability remains an issue, in order to improve business potential.
As our roadmap for this production system, we are planning to launch in-house production of BEVs with a target start date around 2025, and to gradually increase the number and models of BEVs produced. Furthermore, we are exploring the restructuring of our domestic production system in a way that includes the addition of BEV-dedicated production lines on or after 2027. As part of the reorganization of our domestic production system, the production of the next-generation e-BOXER* will be transferred to the Kitamoto Plant as part of the reorganization of power unit plants. This will be done to steadily make progress in installing the next-generation e-BOXER to multiple models and to prepare for the transition to BEV production at the Oizumi Plant. Preparations for in-house production of BEVs, scheduled for around 2025, are focused on starting up mixed production at the Yajima Plant, and we are exploring the establishment of streamlined, dedicated BEV production lines on or after 2027 for the Oizumi Plant.
In promoting our electrification strategy, we at SUBARU believe that the most important thing is to assess the convenience of BEVs from a range of perspectives. This includes changes in markets and regulations, as well as changes in customer needs, preferences, and values, plus social infrastructure. Based on this concept, SUBARU will continue to develop products that satisfy customers and bring them happiness. We will also continue to develop a flexible production system that incorporates the state of the market environment.
Strategic reorganization of domestic production
The percentage of SUBARU’s EVs as a share of global sales in FYE March 2022 was 4.9%. However, we will strengthen our earnings base in the BEV era by strengthening our supply capacity for EVs, including the start of in-house BEV production in the mid-2020s in conjunction with the reorganization of our domestic production system, the launch of the next-generation e-BOXER, and the addition of dedicated BEV production lines in the late 2020s. As we do this, we will work to ensure a high level of financial soundness, taking actions in a sustainable structure toward the achievement of our goal of making at least 40% of SUBARU global sales EVs or HEVs.
Results and future plan of percentage of EVs sold (retail sales basis)
Efforts to Reduce CO2 Emissions for New Models
SUBARU is naturally working to improve the fuel efficiency of gasoline engine vehicles while turning its attention to expanding its lineup of EV models, especially the development and supply of BEVs. We believe it will be especially important to steadily promote the expansion of the above initiatives in order to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted from automobiles.
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
In May 2022, SUBARU launched the SOLTERRA as another step toward the era of the electric car. Its first global BEV, the SOLTERRA is designed to achieve coexistence with nature. It utilizes the e-SUBARU Global Platform, a dedicated EV platform we jointly developed with Toyota Motor Corporation (“Toyota”), as well as the AWD technology we have developed for many years and Toyota’s outstanding electrification technology, thus bringing together the strengths of both companies and efficiently leveraging our development investments. Like with our existing vehicles, we will add this SUV featuring the unique appeal of SUBARU’s BEVs to the SUBARU SUV lineup, aiming to further strengthen the value we offer with the goal of being a brand that is “different” from others. We will roll out this model in Japan, the U.S. and Canada, Europe, China, and other markets.
At SUBARU, we will continue to help protect the environment as we consider practical functions and customer preferences in enhancing our lineup in the markets we serve with environmentally friendly vehicles that are unique to SUBARU.
EVs—HEVs, Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs), Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (SHEVs), and Other Electromotive Vehicles (xEVs)
SUBARU has been increasing the number of vehicles equipped with its mild hybrid e-BOXER engine that combines a horizontally-opposed engine and electrification technology, and to reduce CO2 emissions has implemented initiatives such as creating its own PHEV using HEV expertise from Toyota. In addition, we will launch SHEVs in the mid-2020s that incorporate THS*1 technology to deliver vehicles that feature SUBARU-ness while offering high-level environmental performance. By steadily expanding our product lineup of EVs, we will help reduce CO2 emissions for new models.
Higher Fuel Efficiency
We will continue to meet demand for conventional gasoline-powered vehicles from customers. HEVs, which we are expanding to include more models, are made by combining gasoline engines with electrification technology, and engines need further technological improvements to boost fuel efficiency. The 1.8-liter BOXER DIT*2 combines the unique driving pleasure of a SUBARU with outstanding environmental performance. Installed in the new Levorg, Forester, and new Outback models, it is a next-generation BOXER engine with a turbo system that generates high torque at low RPM. Its lean combustion technology produces more energy with less fuel. Combined with the expanded Lineartronic shift range, this engine offers even more powerful acceleration off the line and superb fuel efficiency when cruising at high speed.
Strategic reorganization of domestic production for acceleration of our roadmap to 2050
SUBARU BRZ with carbon-neutral fuel to compete in Super Taikyu Series 2022
In our work to take on the challenge of expanding fuel options while using internal combustion engines, SUBARU is not only conducting basic research on carbon-neutral fuel but also taking part in Super Taikyu Series 2022 with vehicles using carbon-neutral fuel. In cooperation and competition with Toyota, we will foster engineers through agile development, in which hypotheses and verifications are repeated in short cycles demanded in the field of motorsports, to promote the creation of better cars originating in motorsports and to realize a carbon-neutral society.
Life Cycle Assessment
SUBARU conducts LCA*3 to evaluate CO2 emissions during the entire life cycle of automobiles. We will quantify the environmental impact of automobiles and proactively develop automobiles taking into account the need for decarbonization from the design stage.
In addition, SUBARU has designated departments in charge of the five areas of “product use,” “materials and components,” “transportation,” “disposal,” and “manufacturing” as of FYE March 2022. We now also hold monthly CN Promotion Meetings, bringing together representatives from the relevant departments in each area. By operating a cross-organizational committee structure, SUBARU will further promote efforts to reduce CO2 emissions throughout the life cycle of our business activities.
In May 2022, SUBARU launched the SOLTERRA, its first global BEV.
The ratio of CO2 emissions at each LCA stage is shown below.
The displacement class of the new Levorg announced in October 2020 has changed.
The ratio of CO2 emissions at each LCA stage is shown below.
LCA of the Impreza, which was fully redesigned in fall 2016, is shown below.
The new Impreza reduces CO2 emissions by 2.3% over its life cycle compared with its predecessor.
LCA of the Forester with e-BOXER announced in June 2018 is shown below.
It reduces CO2 emissions by 8.7% over its life cycle compared with its gasoline-fueled predecessor.
The ratio of CO2 emissions at each stage of the LCA for the new Legacy Outback announced in October 2021 is shown below.
The ratio of CO2 emissions at each stage of the LCA for the new Crosstrek announced in December 2022 is shown below.
The ratio of CO2 emissions at each stage of the LCA for the new WRX S4 announced in November 2021 is shown below.
The ratio of CO2 emissions at each stage of the LCA for the new SUBARU BRZ announced in July 2021 is shown below.
The displacement class is different from the predecessor model, so only data for the new model is presented.
Design for Recycling
SUBARU incorporates recyclability into its automobile design process to make effective use of limited resources.
Utilizing Recycled Resins
To contribute to realizing a resource-recycling society and a decarbonized society, SUBARU is working to develop technologies to utilize recycled resins and biomass materials in place of the resins currently used in automobiles.
Subaru of America, Inc. helped develop and launch environmentally friendly accessories in the form of floor mats made from used recycled materials for the 2021 Crossstrek Sport®. The surface and lining of these floor mats are made from 100% recycled materials such as trash removed from the ocean. In addition, the company has introduced and utilizes a new supplier assessment system using ISO 14001.
Reducing Environmentally Hazardous Substances
SUBARU is also collaborating with suppliers in reducing the use of environmentally hazardous substances in automobiles.
We achieved the environmentally hazardous substance reduction targets for lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and cadmium set by Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA) for all new models released in and after 2008. Furthermore, in order to ensure compliance with the REACH regulation, ELV Directive, Chemical Substance Control Law, and other regulations enforced across the world, we are further reducing the use of lead and replacing phthalic acid-based plasticizer and other hazardous chemical substances with alternatives.
Cleaner Exhaust Gas
To achieve and maintain clean air across the globe, SUBARU is developing technologies for cleaner exhaust gas, targeting not only conventional air pollutants such as hydrocarbon compounds and nitrogen oxides but also particulate matter, which is feared to have serious impacts on human health. At the product level, we are expanding our range of models that meet the latest regulations by country, while addressing emerging regulations at the development level.
- Japan: 2018 low emissions standards
- U.S.: State of California’s SULEV standards
- Europe: Euro 6 emission standards (final stage)
- China: China 6 emission standards
We will develop and propose reasonable products for customers based on the results of research conducted to identify the optimal specifications in each country, including research on the components of exhaust gas that will be regulated in the future. To this end, we are designing materials on an atomic level to improve the performance of the catalyst, which plays a major role in producing cleaner exhaust gas, while also reducing the use of precious metals.
Reducing VOCs*4 in Vehicle Interiors
SUBARU is reviewing the components and adhesive agents used in vehicle interiors in order to reduce the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
For the Legacy, Levorg, Impreza, Forester, and SUBARU BRZ, we achieved the voluntary target set by JAMA*5 by reducing the concentration of the 13 substances defined by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to levels below the indoor concentration guideline values. We will continue our efforts to reduce the levels of VOCs to make the in-vehicle environment even more comfortable.