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Rumorpile: Subaru Considering Electric Turbocharging for Next WRX


Blake Noble
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
May 4th, 2012

“Turbocharging” isn’t quite the dirty word it used to be these days. With strict fuel economy standards looming in the near horizon and the price of a gallon of gas unstable, automakers have turned to building and selling smaller turbo-powered engines to increase fuel economy without losing power. Buyers also seem to be responding favorably to turbo engines — for example, Ford's EcoBoost F-150 is enjoying better sales than comparable V8 models.

While it seems like a win-win situation on spec sheets and in sales, in the real word modern turbocharged engines still sometimes suffer from turbo lag and require additional, sometimes complicated piping. And although something like Chrysler’s 1.4 liter turbo four will undoubtedly be more reliable than its primitive ancestors from the 1980s, automakers are still constantly looking at ways to improve and reduce the drawbacks associated with turbocharged engines.

Enter Subaru then, who is considering replacing the exhaust-gas driven turbocharger on its WRX performance model for an electric-powered design. According to Australia’s Drive magazine, Subaru’s electric turbo would operate on heat generated from the exhaust which would be converted into electricity that would power the turbine. Such a design could eliminate most, if not all of the associated piping and drastically reduce turbo lag.

The electric turbo is just one of the many rumors circulating about the next WRX. Expected to bow sometime around 2014, there are whispers that the new WRX will be available as a two-door coupe and have distinct styling that will borrow nothing from the related Impreza. Subaru Australia representative David Rowley spoke to Drive and agreed with the latter rumor, saying that it would “look considerably different.”

The engine for the next WRX is expected to be a 1.6 liter boxer four, just in case you were wondering what that neat electric turbo could show up attached to. Only one question remains, though. How much power will this whiz-bang turbo setup be good for?

Source: Drive
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6 Comments

I'm not sure it would eliminate turbo lag, but it would probably reduce it. It still has momentum to overcome spinning up and down. The faster you want the reaction to be, the more powerful you'd need the electric motor to be.

that said: *buys stock in Honeywell.... and Hoover*
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Yea Hoover does suck well ;)

I agree Olds, it will reduce lag, but not eliminate it. I think we will see a ton of new technology over the next 5-10 years.

I still think we need to move to CNG poweredvehicles.
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wouldn't that just technically be a supercharger?
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wouldn't that just technically be a supercharger?


Turbojett, I think this is getting close to being a supercharger, I wonder just how much difference it will truly be.

Electric driven versus belt driven?
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I'm wondering how much more power-efficient it would be as opposed to an actual exhaust-driven turbine.
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What is interesting to me is how well this could work with a light hybrid system and a small displacement engine. You could end up with 1 liter engines that get 200 hp at full boost/assist yet be fuel misers on the highway.
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