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?