5th generation Forester was unveiled in New York, March 2018. That car was with the 2.5i non-hybrid engine. There was some early hints of the upcoming hybrid version however. I can recall myself searching information pieces, what kind of hybrid they are designing. There was not much information available by then. Europeans needed to wait one year before Subaru published their press release of the new e-Boxer Forester and XV in Geneva Autoshow 2019.
Subaru itself calls e-Boxer as a mild-hybrid. Technology wise it could be full hybrid as well. Due to faint power output, it is easier to call this system as a mild-hybrid instead. Usually mild-hybrid is referred to the 48V systems found usually from the German brands. Subaru e-Boxer has 118.4V system. Integrated electric motor output is 16,7hp and torque 66Nm. Car is capable to move itself with electric alone, which is not typical with other mild-hybrids. Subaru also wanted to keep their legendary Symmetrical AWD system as capable as it has been earlier. As a design result we have a light hybridization rather than going to same direction as virtually all other manufacturers in the industry. E.g. Audi chosen to go with the ulta-Quattro to opposite direction what Quattro used to be. It is not permanent all-whee-drive system anymore. Rear wheels disengages at higher speeds. This time we still have familiar Subaru. They are guided still by what their customers wants.
Specifications sheet of the e-Boxer system
|Electric motor output||16.7hp|
|Battery type||Lithium Ion|
|Battery output capacity||13.5kW|
More powerful, more economical?
This is an interesting question. By looking the spec sheet alone, it looks like Subaru hasn’t designed particular powerful car. Nor it is super efficient what comes to the fuel economy. Usually hybrid cars have either of these characteristics. Nowadays even both. E.g. Toyota RAV4 is more efficient and has over 220hp. See full comparison here. One may think that why Subaru developed this car if there is no real benefit. My answer is that it does benefit, specially on city driving conditions. It might not go alone with pure electricity long distances but help of that hybrid system is there all the time on background. Driver feels improved torque in everyday city driving situations. Improved fuel economy is there too. Subaru says that new e-Boxer is up to 11% more efficient compared to the non-hybrid version. Light hybridization, light improvements.
Where it is available
Currently e-Boxer is mostly the joy of Europeans. I put it this way since Europeans do not have any alternatives. This time we have something that North Americans do not have. Usually they tend to have most interesting options. Although I suspect Subaru is not actually trying to please European customers with this decision. This is a result of EU decision to demand more greener cars. To sell cars on old continent, they must produce less pollution. So e-Boxer is available already on Europe and Australia. It is also sold in China and of course on domestic markets at Japan. In Japan e-Boxer Forester (Advance as it is called there) is highly popular model. Then most recent news says that e-Boxer will be also available in Singapore and in Philippines during Q3/2020.