Toyota engineers are weighing the possibility of a hybrid engine, possibly a KERS type, to propel the company’s sporty FR-S – the top-of-the-range coupe in its price-conscious Scion line.
According to Motor Trend, Toyota Scion FR-S chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said the company is looking for a surprise, “something unique,” as the drivetrain to possibly power the next-generation FR-S.
“For example a hybrid motor,” said Tada.
In the quest to give the FR-S a serious boost in the engine room, Tada dismisses going the conventional route.
“I think 300 horsepower with a turbo would be tasteless in this day and age,” Tada said. “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.”
GT86 is the Euro badging for the FR-S – the car’s North American model name.
Tada cites the performance-oriented nature of the FR-S as reasoning for pursuing a different hybrid platform, like the one found in the TS030 Le Mans Prototype, rather the more traditional Atkinson Cycle hybrid found in the Prius. The Atkinson engines typically sacrifice high-revving power for fuel-sipping fuel economy.
The TS030 has a KERS system, with six-speed transmission and electric drive to the rear wheels in parallel with the gas engine.
Motor Trend doubts a KERS-type hybrid is in the production phase for the FR-S, but notes that Tada is a fan of the KERS powertrain, the likes of which is found in the pending Porsche 918 Spyder.
Toyota also has a joint venture in hybrid development with BMW, and the German automaker’s i8 uses a hybrid system with a KERS similar to that in the 918.
The article speculates a hybrid-powered FR-S would retail in the $30,000 range. The 2012 FR-S has a starting MSRP of $24,995.