Subaru B5-TPH

When it comes to building cars, Subaru has always followed its own drummer. Aside from Porsche, it’s the only carmaker using horizontally opposed “boxer” engines—which lower the car’s center of gravity, neatly complementing their signature “symmetrical” all-wheel-drive system. From capacious if agricultural Outback station wagons to balls-to-the-wall screaming rally cars like the WRX, Subaru are often cult-like and deeply loyal to this offbeat manufacturer.

It stands to reason, then, that a Subaru hybrid would be slightly different. The Subaru B5 TPH (for Turbo Parallel Hybrid) concept, a sporty two-seat, all-wheel-drive grand tourer, blends elements of coupe, sporty hatchback, and Outback sport-utility. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter boxer four develops 191 kW (256 hp) and 253 foot-pounds of torque. The company’s engineers added a very thin—just 58 mm—electric motor-generator between engine and transmission. Though it produces just 10 kW (13 hp) at peak power, it pulls like a steam engine, generating 110 foot-pounds of torque from start-up.

This neatly offsets the characteristic “turbo lag” —in which turbochargers provide little power until they have spooled up to full operating speed. The hybrid also compensates for the characteristics of the Miller cycle engine (defined as the Atkinson cycle used in all hybrids plus forced induction from a turbo- or super-charger). What’s the Atkinson cycle? It’s a variation on the standard Otto cycle gasoline engine, in which valve timing simulates a cycle in which the piston moves through strokes of different lengths. This extracts more energy from the fuel because on the power stroke, the combusting air-fuel mixture can expand to a greater volume than it originally occupied on the intake stroke…but low-speed power is terrible, so the hybrid’s low-speed torque fits nicely.

Unlike full hybrids that can run on batteries alone, both power sources—engine and electric motor—operate full time. This let Subaru fit a much smaller and more compact motor, adding just 200 lbs (100 kg) of weight including the battery pack.

A crucial component of the B5-TPH is its manganese lithium ion batteries, co-developed by Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru’s parent) and NEC Corp. With 50 percent greater power density than the Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries in hybrids today, Li-ion batteries also offer much faster recharge. The weak spots of Li-ion batteries have traditionally been their life cycle, which varied with use cycles rather than time, and their heat generation. Subaru and NEC claim to have solved these problems, though the company has released very few details. Experimental numbers of the TPH powertrain will appear first during 2007 in versions of the Legacy sedan, in Japan only.


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  • andrea whitmore

    i love this concept and it’s a subaru!!!!! make it so i can buy it!

  • Jessica Carriere

    I am a Suburu Service consultant at a dealership and I can tell you from experience that the Suburu line of vehicles are incredible by far! If they can pull off a Suburu hybrid with a definite difference in gas mileage including great performance as they are known for, then this is the Suburu that should be sold in the US. The market needs more hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles and will do very well considering the price of gas nowadays! I am holding off on buying a car until a good hybrid comes out and knowing the quality of Suburu I am highly looking forward to seeing what they will have to offer!

  • broadwing

    Amen to that! We’re dyed-in-the-wool Subaru owners that have been cringing at the thought of having to switch to a different brand to minimize the impact these ridiculous gas prices are going to have on our budget. My MIL has a Prius, which I find less than attractive and with insufficient cargo space; hubby’s friend has a Civic hybrid, which could be good but Civics are known for their popularity with thieves. I keep pining for a Subaru hybrid and hope it comes out before we need a new car!

  • Kyuujo

    My wife & I are on out 3rd Subaru since 1983, best car we’ve ever owned. Build the hybrid and we’ll buy it!

  • J

    I’d buy this tomorrow if I could! Power + echonomy… AND its a Subaru! Gave my sister my 98 Forster when her 02 Civic died. I hope to stay with Subaru, but fuel is litterally killing me. Go to work or feed the family? Hard question… There is nothing worse than sitting still wasting gas in traffic.

  • sta

    in need for this beauty!

  • Becky

    i wish they had this now, I currently own a subaru and I do love it; but because it has a turbo it calls for the higher gas; and as a 22 year old; let me just say its burning a hole in my wallet. I think that making a Subaru Hybrid is an AMAZING idea. One because I love it because its AWD, and im not good in the snow; and with my Subaru I can do anything. Second, I am not a huge SUV fan therefore I love that Subaru has AWD drive cars and now a possible Subaru Hybrid Car, by far the best idea yet. I do not want to get rid of my car at all, but if the gas prices keep going up I am being forced to get rid of my car that I love. Please get your hybrid out ASAP!!!!!!!!!!

  • Roger

    Owned of a 79 GL, 90 Legacy SW, 93 Legacy Sedan, and presently a 98 Forester … all bought used (a total of 754,000 miles placed while I owned these cars) … I’d love to add a new Subaru Hybrid. Bring it on!

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  • Caitlyn

    I want one!! When are they coming out?? Don’t make me by the Saturn Aura Hybrid instead….. 🙂

  • Rachel

    I have a 98 Forester since it was new. Every mechanic I meet tells me to keep it for another 10 years. Subaru is great, my aunt had one for 20 years… I would dream to have another subaru-hybrid.

  • Anonymous

    I agree!! I’m young and dislike debt but I would put up the big bucks for a Subaru hybrid!! I’ve had my 97 Impreza outback sport about half a year and can’t believe how great it is!! I’d keep it and buy this one too!! Subarus are amazing and the fact there’s good amount of torque and still keeps the legendary AWD PLUS it’s a hybrid with way better mileage is a no-brainer!!

  • Seth

    I’m looking at the Toyota hybrids, but I’m a die hard Subaru fan, and I don’t know what to do about my gas milage! I’m spending too much money on gas. If this thing came out, there would definitely be one in my garage… I really don’t think I can wait for this to come out though. There’s not even a planned release date, so it could be a LONG wait.

  • kattywompus

    Yes please make it already! I’ve been waiting for a sporty coupe hybrid and this is perfect. I love the style! To the poster who threatened to buy a Saturn hybrid: do NOT buy Saturn. I’m on my third Saturn. Huge mistake. Reliability is not that good, depreciation is terrible, dealership repair centers are aggravating, and they keep discontinuing their model lines (LS series, Ion series, etc)– which really makes the depreciation soar.

  • Boberto

    My 1993 Legacy got dinged the other day. Now I have to see if the repair price will put it in the “totaled” category. I want another Suby but like the idea of a hybrid. What to do? Subaru, make me a hybrid! (And now I’ve stumbled across one in the making.) I LOVE reading about everyone’s love affairs with their own Subys.

  • Lerrin

    We have an old Subaru Legacy and a Toyota Prius (2nd generation Prius).
    Yep, the Prius sips gasoline (in reality about 40-45 mpg), but has the traction of a hummingbird feather on snow and icy inclines.

    (I actually began to roll backward when stopped on a SLIGHT incline at an intersection one day when it was particularly icy!- was amazed at the lack of confidence I felt in the ice and snow!)

    NOT so with the old rustbucket Subaru- THIS is the one we take (despite its arthritic charms) when we need to be safe out in inclement weather.

    Am holding the Subaru together with baling wire, chewing gum, and bungee cords….waiting for the hybrid to arrive!


  • Perla Arquieta

    Please hurry, I have been so patient! I have a 2001 Forester, which I love, I always said only thing bette than a Subaru would be a Hybrid Subaru.

  • desmond Kwok

    We just had one of the worse winter on record in Ontario, Cda and my suby + snow tires got me anywhere on a 40cm+ snowstorm day. Suby owners know how valuable symmetrical AWD is thanks to the low profile boxer engine layout.

    I hope Subaru’s TPH will yield decent fuel economy gain. I won’t expect it to be at the level of a Prius but if they can get an Impreza/Legacy to get 35 MPG combined…I’ll be a Suby owner for life.

  • jerichonut3

    OHMYGOSH! FINALLY! I’ve been waiting for this news since I bought my ’03 Forester! I absolutely LOVE my Subaru, but gas prices are KILLING me (even with the good mileage I’m getting). PLEASE finish engineering the Hybrid SOON!

  • Juliet

    I have a 1997 Subaru Impreza Outback, Sport.
    I bought it used in 1999 at about 15,000 miles…or so…

    I now have 199,489 miles on it…..

    I am still waiting for the Hybrid Subaru SUV.

    I may just donate the car this year and walk because I would rather walk than risk winter on the New England Coastline in anything other than Subaru AWD.

    Sincerely, still hoping, still waiting,

  • Greg Barton

    I have had three Subarus and LOVE them all. I wish Subaru would get a hybrid out fast. The B5-TPH looks great and having an AWD hybrid with great gas mileage would be quite welcomed. I’d consider buying one. HURRY UP, SUBARU ! YOU CAN DO IT!

  • Brian C

    I’m hoping that this Subaru B5-TPH becomes a reality as well. I know Subaru has a fully electric vehicle available but it’s not as convenient.

  • Ria

    Of all the Subaru’s I like the Forester best of the best of the bunch, because of its 360-degree visibility and those large windows (the Outback may be more aesthetically pleasing to most consumers, but its visibility lags the Forester). A Subaru Forester Hybrid would be the cats meow, and a five-speed automatic transmission would be even better (but not essential). Fuel prices may be wonderfully low again, but as they say: “and this to shall pass”. Peak oil is upon us and fuel prices will rise again.

  • Juliet

    I am at the dealership now getting the car courtesy inspected….
    I am an 200,800 miles…
    Could be do or die day for the car.
    So many things need to be redone…

  • Julian

    If they build a plug-in hybrid Subaru Forestor or Outback wagon that gets 45mpg I will buy one immediately. Until then my money sits in the bank and waits.

  • amanda kuli

    This car is amazing. If it was possible I would buy one tomorrow for sure. Best idea ever, go for it!!!

  • Paul Salvador

    Why is it taking Subaru, a green ideological company, so long to introduce a hybrid or alternative power system for use with their cars!?!?
    I don’t know about the rest of you but, personally, as a Subaru owner,… I’m a little embarrased.

  • trader travis

    I learned to drive on an ’88 GL, and haven’t looked the same way at another car since. I currently have a 2000 Forester. Too bad they went to the “crossover” platform and followed everyone else in the indusrty. In ’98 when the Forester came out it was ahead of it’s time. Now they’re following the Honda CRv’s of the world. Anyway, __CATCH_UP__ with the hybrid race and put out a Subaru Exiga Hybrid for the US market. I’ll go to Cherry Hill HQ to have my name added to the top of the list! You need another sport wagon in your line-up, not another SUV!


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  • Becky R

    I live in central oregon. It’s a great ski/snow area with great hiking in nearby mountains. Now it seems like every third car or so is a Legacy or Outback. An AWD hybrid would sell like hotcakes here and every other mountain town.

    I hope that production can continue given the devastating damage in Japan. A new car would be great, but I can wrecovery awhile.

    Best wishes for your and your country’s recovery.
    Becky b.

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  • Peter Zsiros

    My prius is getting old and will be replaced within the year. Great MPG, underwhelming driver-experience, limited usefulness has defined the last 6 years for me. I will hold off on buying a car until the new Subaru is out. It would me my 3rd one behind a Legacy and an Impreza. Make it worth the wait!

  • AngolaCarro

    I like the Forester best of the best of the bunch, because of its 360-degree visibility and those large windows. A Subaru Forester Hybrid would be the cats meow, and a five-speed automatic transmission would be even better.

    Green cars are simply the future, but the price needs to come down.


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