LA Preview: Subaru Announces Hybrid Engine for 2012

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

In a weeks time at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Subaru will display its Hybrid Tourer Concept which will be the focal point of an announcement that the Japanese automaker will introduce a hybrid engine in 2012.

The new gas/electric hybrid engine will be a first for Subaru and will be based on one of the company’s boxer engines. In the Hybrid Tourer Concept, the hybrid setup works with a direct-injection 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer engine. The concept version uses lithium ion batteries and uses two electric motors (one for the front and one for the rear), to help deliver optimum all-wheel drive performance.

The setup uses only the rear electric motor at low speeds, while under normal driving conditions, the gasoline engine is used. When more power is needed, the rear electric motor again kicks in. And finally, for optimum grip, the front motor will be engaged when needed – for example when accelerating up a hill.

It is not clear if Subaru intends to debut its new hybrid engine in a new vehicle (possibly based n the Hybrid Tourer Concept) or if this new hybrid engine will be used to offer hybrid versions of vehicles like the Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca and Forester.

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GALLERY: Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept

Official release after the jump:



The Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept Car shows a possible future for hybrid vehicle technology and is being used to highlight Subaru’s announcement that it will develop a gas/electric hybrid system based on Subaru’s boxer engine for launch in 2012.

The most striking feature of the concept car is its unique gull-wing doors that emphasize its spacious interior. The interior highlights a grand touring concept focused on interior volume and comfort. It features four independent seats with open spaces surrounding the occupants. Through clever packaging of the AWD system, a flat floor design is created allowing increased leg room for rear seat passengers.

Powering the Hybrid Tourer is a 2.0-liter horizontally-opposed direct fuel-injection turbo gasoline engine that improves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. The turbo has been designed to improve engine responsiveness and environmental friendliness and utilizes Subaru’s Lineartronic (CVT) mated to a new Hybrid system that incorporates Symmetrical AWD. The powertrain features a unique gas/hybrid two-motor system with an electric power/drive motor in the front and another drive motor in the rear. The electric motors are powered by new high-performance lithium batteries.

At start-up and extremely low speeds when fuel efficiency is low, such as when driving the car into a garage, the rear electric motor is primarily used, which allows driving without engaging the gasoline engine. During normal driving, the front engine is primarily used. Under full acceleration, the rear motor assists the driving power of the engine to achieve advanced driving performance. When accelerating uphill, the front motor, which is normally used as a power generator, transfers power to the front axle for improved performance. The Hybrid Tourer Concept also implements a stop/start system that stops the engine when the car comes to a halt to reduce unnecessary fuel consumption.

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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