Subaru Teases High-Performance STI EV Concept for Tokyo Auto Salon
With only a teasing picture and a brief sentence, Subaru shows its electrified future isn’t just EV SUVs like the Solterra. The Japanese brand isn’t backing down from making enthusiast-centric, high-performance vehicles like the 2022 Subaru WRX STI in the EV era, and this new concept for the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon—the STI E-RA—is proof of that.
The Electric Era
The announcement of this car is just a single sentence, “STI is showcasing the STI E-RA Concept developed in a new project launched with an aim of gaining experience and practice in new technologies in the world of motorsport which is making its way toward a carbon neutral era.” Unfortunately, besides the picture above, Subaru hasn’t said exactly what this “practice” vehicle will end up being. However, with “RA” in its name, we have some ideas or at least some hopes.
An Electrified Record Attempt?
Type RA cars have always been “Record Attempt” vehicles made to push what Subaru could produce beyond the “regular” STI models. The original RA, a Legacy, set an FIA World Speed Endurance Record in 1989, and subsequent RAs were meant for running hard on the Nordschleife, attacking the typically motorcycle-only Isle of Man course, or time attack competition. Most likely, that’s what this E-RA will set to do: break or set new records for electric vehicle lap times.
From the looks of the teaser image, it looks a lot like the front end of the Toyota Sports EV concept that debuted and could become the next platform shared by the two companies. It’s not hard to imagine how the two companies might visually distinguish heavily related products, having plenty of experience with the BRZ and its Scion and Toyota siblings. But unlike the BRZ, this STI E-RA could pack the companies signature all-wheel-drive drivetrain, because it’s an easy task to run a dual traction motor setup with one in the front and one in the rear. Or perhaps a quad-motor setup could be utilized, for the ultimate in performance torque vectoring.
Which also leads us to wonder if Subaru might leverage solid state battery tech developed by Toyota, the next holy grail of electric technology. Toyota has been working on solid-state batteries for some time, and it would make sense from an economy of scale standpoint to utilize it in as many vehicles as possible, especially space-constrained and weight-conscious sports cars.
Of course, all of this speculation could be blown out the window depending on what shows up at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon. It could end up being the next SVX, a grand tourer with a modern lightweight glass roof, or even be a callback to the least remembered XT6. We’ll just have to wait and see.