Well, Tada-san did it again! He surprised us in different way. Interesting combination. KERS Hybrid & 86…
On the convertible question he’s obviously thinking, but is for the moment bound to silence by his PR minder. On the question of power, he says, “We’re looking for a surprise. Something unique. For example a hybrid motor.”
He dismisses a turbocharger: “I think 300-HP with a turbo would be tasteless in this day and age. If we pursue power without regard to fuel consumption, the market won’t accept it. And a turbo would mean the loss of the GT86′s uniqueness.”
The FR-S is all about high rpm and driver interaction. Not what we get from the Atkinson Cycle engine and CVT of the regular Prius and other Toyotas and Lexuses with Hybrid Synergy Drive. “The Hybrid Synergy Drive is good in town, but not for sporty driving or high-speed highways.”
The TS030 has a KERS system, with six-speed transmission and electric drive to the rear wheels in parallel with the gas engine.
Has he actually tried it? Is there a prototype? “Yes,” he answers. The race car has supercapacitors for storage of the charge. Does the prototype use these? A less direct answer: “Toyota wants to make things accessible. The capacitor is appropriate technology, but it’s not as lightweight as you might think, and it’s expensive.” But he acknowledges things are changing. “The rate of improvement in the electronics industry is very fast compared with the car industry.”
It seems unlikely a FR-S with KERS hybrid is yet in production-phase development, but Tada-san did say that he admires the Porsche 918 Spyder, which also employs a KERS hybrid powertrain. It’s also worth noting that Toyota has a joint venture in hybrid development with BMW, and the i8 uses a hybrid system with a KERS function not unlike that in the 918.
So will there be a KERS hybrid FR-S? It’s too soon to tell whether the technology will be viable in a car that costs less than $30,000, but Toyota does have the money and the technology to make it happen. Where does that leave the Subaru BRZ? We’ve spotted a prototype wearing STI badges, but our sources say it will not have a turbocharger, either. Instead, Subaru is expected to add 20-30 horsepower with software tuning and a freer-flowing exhaust system. The car will continue to emphasize handling and will feature aerodynamic and suspension modifications as well as larger brakes.
How do I feel about this? Mix feeling. Like Tada-san have stated, KERS Hybrid system isn’t light by any means, so adding more weight into 86, how well does it perform?