Subaru has been trying to figure out the direction for its three-headed monster, as the Impreza and its WRX and WRX STI variants have grown increasingly at odds over the past two generations. Now this gets thrown into the mix: When the new WRX gets released in late 2013, it may ditch the traditional exhaust-gas powered turbocharger for a new, electric design.
That's right, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, Subaru is working on an electric turbo, shades of those computer-fan-sourced "power adders" you used to see advertised in the back pages of Sport Compact Car a decade ago. Except we would assume Subie-parent Fuji Heavy Industries is developing a design that actually works. According to the report, heat from the exhaust would be captured, but instead of using the exhaust pressure to turn the turbocharger's turbine, the heat energy would be converted to electricity, which would then spin the impellers. This could be more efficient, as well as eliminating the piping and turbo lag.
While that sounds neat and all, we're not so sure we want to see an unproven technology like this applied to one of our favorite affordable performance cars. Unless, of course, it allows for BMW M3-like performance in a $30,000 car.