Subaru plans to join hybrid society

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Subaru plans to join hybrid society

Subaru has announced plans to introduce its first hybrid in a little over two years.

The Hybrid Tourer concept car rolled out at the Tokyo motor show today signalled the company's intentions, and was immediately followed by an announcement that a hybrid will go into production in 2012.

Subaru says it will use its own expertise to develop the petrol-electric powertrain, but the company will also be able to call on the hybrid expertise of Toyota, with whom it signed an alliance earlier this year, if it chooses to.

While the Hybrid Tourer concept car is clearly a non-starter for production the single vast gullwing door on each side would be impractical in the real world it gives pointers to the sort of car that Subaru is considering.

'This is our vision of an environmentally sound GT of the future,' said Subaru president Ikuo Mori.

The Tourer concept car echoes BMW's recently-introduced 5 Series GT, which combines elements of SUV, estate and luxury saloon.

The Subaru show car has four individual seats like the concept car that preceded BMW's 5 GT, and a luxurious cabin.

Subaru's familiar combination of a flat-four 'boxer' engine and all-wheel drive is retained, but the power unit is a new 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo driving through a next-generation automatic gearbox.

The combination is said to improve fuel efficiency and performance.

The hybrid system uses two electric motors one for each axle. At low speeds the rear one does all the work. The petrol engine takes over when cruising, with the rear motor cutting-in to help acceleration. The front motor normally serves as a generator, but can also assist in driving the car when it is under maximum load.

An engine stop-start system reduces fuel consumption and emissions when the car is stationary in traffic.

See it on video here