Subaru B5-TPH Concept

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.

2006 Subaru B5-TPH Concept Front Angle

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.

2006 Subaru B5-TPH Concept Interior

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.

Source: Subaru

Gallery: Subaru B5-TPH Concept (2006)