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2006 NAIAS: Subaru B5-TPH Concept

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Subaru Hybrid Concept Vehicle Makes North American Debut

Company continues 'green' efforts to help safeguard the environment

DETROIT, Jan. 9 -- The Subaru B5-TPH, a new type of high- performance hybrid-powered vehicle, made its North American Debut today at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The B5-TPH concept vehicle features the company's emerging Turbo Parallel Hybrid (TPH) powertrain system and lithium-ion battery technology in a sporty two-seat grand touring car.

Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) has been developing the TPH powertrain for future mass production and will test-launch TPH-powered vehicles in the Japanese market in 2007.

Also at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, Subaru showcased a test version of its R1e urban electric vehicle equipped with next-generation long-life lithium-ion type batteries from NEC Lamilion Energy. That company was jointly established by NEC and FHI in 2002 for the development of secondary batteries. Designed to meet the needs of city mobility, the Subaru R1e is projected to achieve an 80% recharge in about fifteen minutes. The resulting charge can supply enough power to serve most daily commuting needs in congested urban areas.

These high-technology Subaru vehicles are parts of the company's broad approach to environmental responsibility that also takes into account current vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency, as well as reduced environmental impact from all facets of automobile development, production and marketing.

"Subaru has always been, and will continue to be, committed to safeguarding the natural environment that so many of our customers avidly enjoy," said Kunio Ishigami, chairman, president and CEO, Subaru of America, Inc. "We will continue to make these technologies a priority in our product development, manufacturing and business processes."

New Turbo Hybrid Powertrain Previews New Subaru Core Technology

The Subaru B5-TPH carries a revolutionary powertrain system beneath sporty bodywork. This vehicle's TPH powertrain is a strategically important technology for the power source of clean-energy vehicles and will be incorporated with the Subaru core technologies including the Subaru Boxer Engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

The Subaru TPH powertrain in the B5-TPH places a thin, 10-kW motor generator between a vehicle's engine and its automatic transmission. The combination of the motor-generator and the turbocharged Subaru Boxer Engine creates a system that not only provides power in the mid-speed ranges when the turbocharger is active -- as with conventional turbo models -- but it also delivers excellent acceleration and fuel economy. This superb, all-range performance has been enabled by electric motor-assist, a feature that is designed to boost engine torque at low speeds.

For even greater efficiency, the TPH gasoline engine adopts the Miller Cycle. A Miller-cycle engine leaves the intake valve open during part of the compression stroke, effectively shortening the compression stroke to avoid detonation. However, due to the turbocharger, the cylinder still packs a larger "charge" than would a conventional-cycle engine. In the Subaru B5-TPH, the Miller Cycle turbo boxer engine operates up to 30 percent more efficiently than a conventional gasoline engine.

In order to bring out even better driving performance from the TPH, Subaru is planning to equip the system with high-performance manganese lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion Battery Technology Opens Up New Possibilities

Subaru is committed to the development of power storage technologies as the key to further promote the use of hybrid vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, and battery electric vehicles. Consequently, FHI has been concentrating specifically on the development of power storage systems and the application of NEC Lamilion Energy high-capacity manganese Li-ion batteries on prototype vehicles, including the Subaru R1e electric vehicle, for further testing and evaluation.

In addition, FHI is currently conducting performance tests on prototype cells of the new Li-ion capacitor. The eventual successful commercialization of Li-ion capacitors for compact cars would open up many other business opportunities, including helping to meet the increased demand for new hybrid buses, trucks, and other passenger vehicles. This new capacitor also has the potential to be an alternative to conventional lead-acid batteries in the future.

Subaru PZEV Vehicles Do Not Sacrifice Performance

Subaru is addressing the need for lower vehicle emissions today with PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) models made in its U.S. plant in Lafayette, Indiana. PZEV vehicles meet California's SULEV (Super-Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle) standard for 15 years/150,000 miles. Additionally, they meet the zero-evaporative emission standard and have a 15-year/150,000-mile emission defects and performance warranty. The SULEV standard is 90-percent cleaner than the average 2003 model year vehicle.

Twenty-eight percent of all 2005 model year Subaru vehicles sold in California met the PZEV requirements. According to the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency, gasoline vehicles meeting PZEV emissions standards sometimes even have lower emissions than some hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles. These Subaru vehicles with PZEV emissions rating have such tight pollution controls, and the burning of fuel is so complete, that in very smoggy urban areas exhaust out of the tailpipe can actually be cleaner than the ambient air.

What distinguishes the Subaru PZEV vehicles from competitors is that no sacrifice in performance was made to achieve the emissions rating. In fact, Subaru makes the most powerful PZEV engine available in the U.S. market today.

Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) Has History of Environmental Compatibility

Subaru is dedicated to environmental responsibility in all its production and marketing operations. As one of the more remarkable examples, the average household sends more waste to a landfill than the Subaru of Indiana Automotive manufacturing plant. The Subaru plant is the first auto assembly plant to achieve zero landfill status, which means that no waste material from its manufacturing efforts go into a landfill - it is all reused or recycled.

The Subaru Indiana plant was the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. to be smoke-free in 1994. In 1998, it was the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. to be ISO 14001 Certified. (The Subaru of America, Inc. corporate headquarters in New Jersey also has ISO 14001 certification.). In 2002, Subaru of Indiana Automotive became the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. with an on-site solvent recovery system that produces dry still bottoms. And in 2004, the plant became the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. to dry paint and wastewater sludge on-site.

The Subaru plant was determined to be the first auto assembly plant in the U.S. to be designated a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation in 2003. Deer, coyotes, beavers, blue herons, Canada geese, rabbits, squirrels, meadowlarks, ducks and other animals live on the plant property, undisturbed by plant operations.

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Info Source: The Auto Channel

Image Source: Automobile Magazine

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