STI’s new electric racing concept packs four electric motors, 800kW combined, and the aerodynamics needed for a fast Nurburgring lap time – and it could preview the technology powering a future electric Subaru race car.
The Subaru STI E-RA concept has been revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon, as a preview of what race-ready (and road-legal) models from the company’s Subaru Tecnica International (STI) performance division once the global automative industry switches to electric power.
Rather than the fettled WRX STI road-going sedans the firm is best known for, the STI E-RA draws closer links to STI’s motorsport efforts, taking the shape of a two-door, race-ready coupe with a wide stance and hardcore aerodynamics.
Powering the concept is a set of four electric motors – one mounted to each wheel, enabling Subaru’s signature all-wheel drive – which combine to develop 800kW, equivalent to nearly four WRX STI performance sedans.
No 0-100km/h or top speed figures have been given, however Subaru Tecnica International says it’s targeting a lap time around Germany’s Nurburgring circuit of six minutes and 40 seconds – on par with the fastest Porsche and Lamborghini road cars.
Plans for a Nurburgring lap time may come at no surprise given the vehicle’s name: E-RA, which stands for ‘Electric Record Attempt’.
Energy is stored in a 60kWh lithium-ion battery pack developed by Yamaha, believed to be situated in the middle of the vehicle, where a racing prototype’s engine would typically be mounted – with the roof-mounted air intake used for cooling the high-voltage pack.
With each motor attached to its own wheel, Subaru says the STI E-RA concept is capable of hyper-precise torque vectoring, with the car able to monitor wheel speed, vehicle speed, G-force, steering angle, brake pressure and other parameters “to independently apply the optimum drive torque to the four wheels as the load shifts”.
“Since [attaching one motor to each wheel] is considered to be a system which can maximize a vehicle’s kinetic performance, and is included in the regulations for future motorsport (FIA E-GT), we regard this to be the best direction for us to work in,” STI says in its press release.
The Subaru STI E-RA concept will make its public debut at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon event in Japan’s capital, which is now open to the press, before opening its doors to the general public tomorrow.
The concept will conduct “driving experiences including at circuits in Japan” later this year, before heading to the Nurburgring from 2023 onwards.
While it appears unlikely the STI E-RA will be converted into a road-going model in the coming years, it’s possible the technologies it employs will form the basis of future Subaru entries into electric motorsport categories.
“There is no specific [racing] category that [we] can participate in, but we will [nonetheless] develop an electric car that can run … [all-wheel drive] AWD. We would like to use this technology,” Subaru Tecnica International president Yasuo Hiraoka said at the concept’s reveal.
In its press release, Subaru Tecnica International adds: “Subaru Tecnica International has launched the STI E-RA Challenge Project … with the aim of gaining experience and training of new technologies in the world of motorsports in this carbon-neutral era focused on combating global warming.
“We will also utilize the insight gained from this project as an initiative for a future electrified society.”
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.