Subaru might be better known for its world-rally-inspired gas-guzzling Impreza WRX and STI, but the Japanese automaker is just about to jump on the green bandwagon with an all-new hybrid wagon concept due to be unveiled later this month at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
At the moment, we’ve only got some teaser images to go by, along with the information that the mid-size wagon concept is designed to be a meeting point between Subaru’s legendary performance, environmental awareness and the practicality of a wagon.
Sticking with what it does best, Subaru has married a 1.6 liter direct-injected horizontally-opposed boxer engine with its own hybrid drivetrain system and all-wheel drive system.
Rather than use multiple motors in its hybrid as is the case with cars like the 2012 Toyota Prius, Subaru engineers have chosen a single motor which operates to provide zero-tailpipe emission low-speed driving. When braking, the motor turns into a generator, recapturing excess energy and storing it in the car’s battery pack.
Subaru hasn’t said if its new concept car will plug-in, but we think its unlikely given its past hybrid concepts, not to mention its unceremonious axing of its only all-electric car -- the Stella mini-car -- earlier this year.
That said, the latest from Subaru suggests that its Advanced Tourer Hybrid Concept will be at least capable of all-electric travel at low speed, meaning its drivetrain would be a series-parallel hybrid similar to the hybrid drivetrain found in Toyota and Lexus cars rather than the mild hybrid drivetrain we previously thought it would be adopting.
Subaru’s hints at going hybrid come hot on the heels of the news that the closest rival to the Subaru Impreza -- the mighty Mitsubishi Lancer Evo -- would adopt a turbocharged diesel plug-in hybrid drivetrain capable of accelerating it from rest to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds.
Subaru's concept may well be a wagon -- but we don't think it takes much imagination to make the link between the Advanced Tourer Hybrid Concept and a new, hybrid drivetrain for the new WRX and STI platforms Subaru is planning for 2013.
With two major automakers known for their love of fast-powerful sports cars making the commitment to hybrid drivetrain technology, we can’t help but think that non hybrid cars are not long for this world.
What do you think? Will sports cars come with hybrid drivetrains as standard in the near future? Let us know in the Comments below.