Subaru used the backdrop of the New York Auto Show to announce a formal partnership between it and the New York Power Authority for the start of a new testing program of R1e electric vehicles in the U.S. Based on the R1 petrol minicar, Subaru’s new R1e has been in testing in Japan since 2006 and now two of the cars will be used to rack-up some miles in North America.

The R1e is described as an electrical vehicle aimed at city dwellers looking for an environmentally friendly and fun to drive alternative to gas powered cars.

The car employs fast-charge lithium ion battery technology that eliminates the typical problems of charge memory loss and allows partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life. The two-seat Subaru R1e is capable of driving at speeds up to 65mph with a range of up to 50 miles. Driving the wheels is an AC permanent magnet synchronized motor producing 40kW.

‘Quick-charging’ the batteries give about 80% capacity in only 15 minutes using new technology developed with the aid of several different power utilities in Japan. The vehicle can also be fully charged overnight (eight hours) while connected to a standard household electrical outlet.