The Solterra will be available to the public in mid-2022, starting at $39,000. (Photo: Courtesy Subaru, Daniel Quasar. Graphic: Chris Brinlee Jr.)

Eco-Queers Rejoice: the Solterra, the First All-Electric Subaru, Is Here

It’s finally gay to drive green


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I’m not ashamed to admit that Subaru’s marketing worked on me: as a queer Millennial woman, it’s the only automaker I’ve ever felt any kind of brand loyalty to. I want everyone on the road to know I’m gay and outdoorsy, and for that there’s nothing better than a Subaru. But as an environmentalist, I’ve been holding out hope for an electric powertrain so I can eschew internal combustion for good. And my dream is finally about to be possible with the 2023 Subaru Solterra crossover, the brand’s first all-electric model.

Unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 17, the Solterra is a mechanical twin to Toyota’s electric bZ4X, which was also announced at the show and shares much of the same technology and specs under a different body and badge. (The two makers have a technical partnership to help split development costs, and Toyota owns 20 percent of Subaru.) Like other Subarus, the Solterra will have more than eight inches of ground clearance, with standard AWD and the brand’s X-Mode, which limits slipping tires, making it capable on dirt roads and safer in winter. There are few details yet on how the AWD system will work in the new system, except that there will be an electric motor on each axle. Like many other Subarus, the vehicle also comes standard with the brand’s EyeSight technology, a suite of collision-prevention and driver assist safety features, which will keep me and my copious houseplants safe on my weekly trek home from the nursery.

Size-wise, the Solterra falls between Subaru’s Outback and Forester models, with 30 cubic feet of cargo space that leaves plenty of room for all my DIY project materials, outdoor adventure gear, and premature U-Hauling. With higher ground clearance than Tesla’s Model Y, which I tested in 2020, it may be slightly more off-road capable, but the battery’s estimated 220 mile range (compared to the Tesla’s 350) may limit your access to truly out-of-the-way destinations. But when you need to power up, fast-charging capabilities will give you an 80 percent charge in less than an hour so you can still visit your long-distance girlfriend.

The Solterra will be available to the public in mid-2022. I look forward to receiving subtle head nods of approval from other members of the LGBTQ+ community when I’m behind the wheel of the green Lesbaru of my dreams.

Corrections: (11/19/2021) A previous version of this article listed a price of the Solterra. It has not yet been released. We regret this error. Lead Photo: Courtesy Subaru, Daniel Quasar. Graphic: Chris Brinlee Jr.