Subaru, which is owned by Fuji Heavy Industries, is said to be working on a revolutionary new electric turbocharger. In 2007, the Japanese company filed a patent for an electrically-powered turbocharger and it is reported by Drive Australia, that the 2013 WRX could have the game-changing technology when it comes out.
The ground-breaking technology being developed by Subaru, would trap heat energy from exhaust gases, generating electricity to power the turbo. The traditional turbo needs complicated piping to generate the extra power, where the new electrically-powered turbocharger would create power more efficiently and also have less turbo lag.
For now, at least, Subaru is keeping quiet about the electric turbo, calling it the latest of many rumors surrounding the next WRX and WRX STI. But if the new electric turbocharger is more efficient, then that means increased performance and fuel efficiency. If the technology works as planned, the already sporty WRX could develop BMW M3-like performance in a $30,000 car. This could be game-changing for Subaru. No wonder they are being so tight-lipped about the technology.
Would the success of an electric turbocharger in the next generation WRX give good reason for Subaru to apply the same technology to the Subaru BRZ? Subaru says space is too limited at the front of the engine compartment to squeeze in an intercooler in the BRZ. They also say the turbo variant would be too heavy on fuel and keep customers from buying the affordable sports car. But the new electric turbo could eliminate the need for the intercooler and also improve fuel-efficiency in the BRZ.
It looks like the next generation WRX will get significantly different styling than the current Impreza models and the new electric-turb could allow for smaller engines to be used to increase fuel mileage. There’s also speculation that the next-generation WRX could be offered with both a six-speed manual and a CVT, but again Subaru has not confirmed anything yet.
Subaru Australia spokesman David Rowley says "Our understanding is that the WRX will be completely distinctive from the current Impreza, it will look considerably different," he says. "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."
It looks like we will be seeing some big changes coming to the Subaru WRX.