Subaru is working on new engineering that could bring an electric turbocharger to the next generation WRX as early as the next model year.
The Japanese automaker applied for a patent five years ago for an electrically-powered turbocharger that, according to Autoevolution, would run on electricity generated from exhaust heat. The website reports that power from a smaller-displacement engine would be boosted by a new-age electric turbo as opposed to the current standard system.
According to Torque News, the change could come as soon as 2013 when Subaru is likely to roll out new WRX and WRX STI models. The current WRX models are powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre boxer engine. But, as is the case in traditional turbo systems, the boost in power requires intricate engineering and piping. An electric turbocharger would not only create power more efficiently, it would experience less turbo lag.
Rumors have been swirling recently about this engineering breakthrough, but Subaru has not officially commented on developments in the works. What is almost certain is that the coming WRX and WRX STI will continue to be stand-alone models, as the manufacturer stopped badging the cars as sporty variations of the Impreza for the current model year.
“Our understanding is that the WRX will be completely distinctive from the current Impreza, it will look considerably different,” Subaru Australia’s David Rowley says in Drive Australia . “I think it’s fair to say they’ll be looking at a whole raft of technical refinements on WRX because by the time we see it, it will be some years old in terms of the maturity of Impreza so inevitably there will be some very significant technical changes and innovations.”
For now, all that could be is pretty much speculation.
“They haven’t even had any concept cars out there that relate to WRX or STI,” says Rowley. “There was nothing at Tokyo last year, so I think until we see something along those lines they’re not going to be revealing any other details – to us or (the media).”