Home » Subaru Shows A Sort-Of EV SVX Concept And A Silly Flying Car They’re Not Gonna Build

Subaru Shows A Sort-Of EV SVX Concept And A Silly Flying Car They’re Not Gonna Build

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The Tokyo Motor Show is now the Japan Mobility Show, which I guess is why all these concepts have “mobility” in the name, a concept that I suppose we all just assumed before based on the hint that this was a car show, not a gazebo show, or something like that. The two “mobility”-named concepts that Subaru showed were the Sport Mobility Concept and the Air Mobility concept, one a battery electric, all-wheel-drive sports car concept, the other a sort of flying hexarotor drone with car like front and rear ends and cabin. I have pretty mixed feelings about these concepts, so I guess we may as well just jump on in.

Sport Mobility Concept

Subarusportmob

 

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

There seems to be some discussion that this concept is based on the wonderfully weird Subaru SVX of the ’90s, but if so, it’s pretty loose. I mean, I guess there are some SVX design inspirations in that dome-like greenhouse and maybe some of the lines of the fenders, but this mostly seems to be its own thing. Its own kind of strange, maybe not entirely successful thing.

Svx

The most striking parts of the design are likely the fenders/wheelarch surrounds that are separated from the body, breaking the silver skin to reveal a vibrant blue interior, like what I imagine cutting into the alien equivalent of a peach may be like.

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The concept also includes a lot of elements made of forged carbon fiber, which I understand is an incredible material, chopped up carbon fiber, molded under pressure, yes, yes, amazing, but to me it just looks like kitchen countertops and backsplashes:

Terrazo

As far as what Subaru has to say about this concept, here’s what the press release says:

This concept model expresses the enjoyment that Subaru offers in the age of electrification, embodying the pleasure of going anywhere, anytime, and driving at will in everyday to extraordinary environments. Driving with peace of mind allows us to embark on exciting new adventures. This is a battery electric vehicle (BEV) concept that evokes the evolution of the SUBARU SPORT values.

The basic framework is based on the concept of a driver at the center, controlling all four wheels at will. While offering a low seating position, the car is designed to ensure excellent visibility and perceptibility for the driver, providing a package that allows for enjoyable driving with peace of mind.
Body panels are designed to minimize surfaces and character lines, creating a taut, clean, three-dimensional shape that provides a sense of protection and airflow.

So, driver at the center – I believe this means center-steering, though no interior pics were provided to prove this – and “controlling all four wheels at will” which I think we all generally do when driving, at least in the sense that we move all those four wheels with the car as we drive and steer. There’s not much information here, really.

This seems like a design study for future Subaru design vocabulary. I think the inner-color bits are interesting, but I can’t say I’m really wowed by this, overall. They may be planning to make that LED headlight and taillight setup their new light signature? It seems the light matrix is dynamic in color and what’s lit, as you can see in this video:

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Of course that video also has the flying car thing, so we may as well address that.

Air Mobility Concept

Airmobil

I guess every automaker is going to show a flying car-type thing at some point. It’s like a right of passage, like having your first kiss or drinking turpentine. At best, these things are eternally two years away, making steady progress into an ever-fleeting future we never seem to be able to reach, running Red Queen-style, forever. Subaru does have aviation experience, building helicopters in partnership with Bell, so it’s not like they have no idea what to do here, technically, it’s more about all the other regulatory and logistical hurdles.

That said, I do like how they grafted on car-like headlights and taillights onto this drone-like vehicle, and how the cabin at the center does feel quite automotive, even if it’s not really clear just how you’d get inside it.

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Here’s what the press release has to say about this bit of physical fiction:

In the world of aviation, where electrification and automation technologies are advancing, there are growing expectations for new air mobility that will bring about an “air mobility revolution.” SUBARU AIR MOBILITY Concept expresses the future of “more freedom in mobility” that Subaru envisions. Engineers from the aerospace and automotive divisions are currently working together on flight demonstrations.

So, almost nothing. Maybe we’ll get a flying demonstrator out of this one day? That’d be cool, I guess. Design-wise, you can really feel the challenges of these multi-rotor drone-like designs: so much of the vehicle is taken up by those rotors and their circular housings, it’s tricky to find other places to make a design stand out. I think Subaru got a good start with the face and tail designs, though.

So, I guess thanks for these, Subaru.

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Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
8 months ago

The SVX was glorious. Whatever happened to it?

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
8 months ago

The short story is it went the way of the dodo when the Japanese economy bubble burst in the 90’s.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
8 months ago

Sad face

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
8 months ago

Firstly, I’m glad to finally see someone else who thinks forged carbon looks terrible. I hated it on Lamborghinis and I don’t like it any more here. It just doesn’t work for me.

As for the drone thing? It looks terrible, just outright terrible, there’s no redeeming qualities. I’m glad it’s not going to exist.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago

That mobility flyer is intriguing. I just don’t know if I’m ready to trust my life to something that looks like a giant anxiety fidget spinner.

ScottyB
ScottyB
8 months ago

My dog’s poop is better looking than that SVX. And I know they partner on tech, but dammit Subaru, stop guzzling the Toyota Kool-Aid. This is not OK.

The flying car on the other hand looks just fine. The irony.

Norman Ramos
Norman Ramos
8 months ago
Strangek
Strangek
8 months ago

I’m a Subaru fan, but wow, this is some phoned in shit. I think they forgot about the big “mobility” show and had to throw something together over the weekend.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
8 months ago
Reply to  Strangek

Like a last minute Halloween costume.
The “Air Mobility” is like the prop you have to carry around all night so people recognize what you’re supposed to be.

“Peter Pan?”

“No. Where did I put that longbow.”

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
8 months ago

If I never hear the words “mobility” and “disruption” again it’ll be too soon.

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
8 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

Way to much innovation in that comment for my liking.

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
8 months ago
Reply to  SonOfLP500

“…too…”

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
8 months ago

I, as a stereotypical Subaru buyer, am still waiting on them to come to market with their integrated rear back rack from the Viziv concept.

ScottyB
ScottyB
8 months ago
Reply to  sentinelTk

The production Ascent was such a letdown. Viziv looked great.

Last edited 8 months ago by ScottyB
sentinelTk
sentinelTk
8 months ago
Reply to  ScottyB

The facelifted Ascent is much better, but the first just looked like someone over inflated an Outback. That said, wasn’t the Viziv and design concept more aligned with the Forester?

Ricki
Ricki
8 months ago

I don’t know why, but the idea of a vehicle that can move in three-dimensional space having automotive-style head- and taillights seems…weird.

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
8 months ago
Reply to  Ricki

Cars can’t move in three-dimensional space? Clearly we did not hang around the same people in high school…..

Brian Ash
Brian Ash
8 months ago

I feel like they got the design from Duplo or maybe the car the Weebles rode in. I swear my kids have had 100 toy cars that look very similar to this the past 10 yrs.

Millermatic
Millermatic
8 months ago

Well… it’s not as ugly as the “Hyper Force Concept.” Which is, of course, very weak praise.

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
8 months ago

I’d rather not have either of them.

I got over Subaru after they royally fucked the last STi. The concept was mind blowing, and wouldn’t have been that difficult to produce (or at least something much closer to it than what came- especially given they gave the WRX/STi its own unique body).

Last edited 8 months ago by Glutton for Piëch
sentinelTk
sentinelTk
8 months ago

I feel like people forget the scale that Subaru works. In 2019, Subaru produced under 1M, while Toyota for comparison was over 10M.

That STi/WRX concept was amazing, but there were so many design cues in it that would take complicated production and tooling. A company the size of Subaru just couldn’t do it without massive cost increases. They just don’t have an economy of scale to take advantage of, especially when you consider that one vehicle was a fraction of the overall sales. They are forced to either water down the end result or not take big swings with their concepts.

The WRX would be DOA if it was a $75k car, so Subaru has to make concessions. Frustrating for sure, but I rather they still swing big with their concepts instead of just settling into the mode of “meh, we sell a ton of Crosstreks and Foresters. Who needs excitement?”

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
8 months ago

Need more info on ‘forged carbon fiber’
-and someone needs to dox whatever marketing wank came up with that term so we can all mercilessly taunt them (OR, find out that’s it’s such a wonderful, useful innovation that we can grant them a pass on that name for it)

RKranc
RKranc
8 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Looks like we can blame somebody at Lamborghini and/or Calloway Golf:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forged_composite

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CFSMC

It is a pretty cool material though.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
8 months ago
Reply to  RKranc

I saw reference to both, but the article I saw said “…came to be known as…”, so the culprit is still unknown. ‘Post in haste’, etc : given the pressures used, it’s fair to call it forged, I guess. It just aroused the ire of my inner pedant

Last edited 8 months ago by TOSSABL
sentinelTk
sentinelTk
8 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

It’s been around in the cycling world for awhile. Think more along the lines of fiberglass and carbon fiber having a baby. Since the layup doesn’t matter, it can be produced at a lower cost than proper carbon fiber (and I presume utilizing off-cuts from carbon fiber production), while still having the benefits of being slightly lighter and stronger than fiberglass. Mind you, this isn’t used for frames in cycling, more ancillary components. For example, I have forged carbon bottle cages that are lighter than a lot of other options, but less than half the price of proper carbon fiber cages.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
8 months ago
Reply to  sentinelTk

Excellent: thanks for the context

Outofstep
Outofstep
8 months ago

That concept car made me think of the IDX concept car. I don’t really see any SVX in it. And now that I’m thinking of the IDX I’m upset it never made it to production.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
8 months ago
Reply to  Outofstep

And the IDX always reminded me of the Chevy 130R concept that never made it to production.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
8 months ago

“It’s like a right of passage, like… drinking turpentine.”

And suddenly I understand you Torch. This is a safe space for you to tell us all about it. So many things make sense now.

Drew
Drew
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

I’ve understood Torch for some time, which makes me think I’ve been through this right of passage and just blocked it out.

Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
Paint-Drinking Thundercock Harvey Park
8 months ago
Reply to  Drew

> I’ve understood Torch for some time

So you’re saying the meds aren’t working?

Cautionary Tail-Light
Cautionary Tail-Light
8 months ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Accept(sic) he rote(sic) the wrong rite(sic).

It’s a rite of passage.

Alexk98
Alexk98
8 months ago

Engineers from the aerospace and automotive divisions are currently working together on flight demonstrations.

I strongly doubt that… Maybe we’ll get a Quad or Hex copter with a 3D printed body on it, but that even seems like a stretch.

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