Toyota has made one thing very clear about the future of the Scion FR-S: there will be no turbocharged model. While forced induction is off the table, Toyota GT86/Scion FR-S chief engineer Tetsuya Tada says the automaker is considering a more environmentally-friendly means of boosting power: a hybrid system.
Given the FR-S’ sporty mission, Toyota’s efficient but dull Hybrid Synergy Drive wouldn’t be a good fit, so a new kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) is currently being evaluated, Tada revealed in an interview with Motor Trend. The setup is inspired by Toyota’s TS030 Le Mans Prototype, which features a KERS system that sends captured brake energy to the rear wheels.
While Tada didn’t divulge any details of the system under consideration for the FR-S, he did confirm that it is has been installed in a prototype vehicle. He also said that a hybrid system could help set a high-performance FR-S apart as a sporty yet responsible choice.
“I think 300-HP 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.”
For now, the KERS system is strictly in the testing phase, and cost and weight issues could be major obstacles to its implementation. However, given Toyota’s commitment to hybrid technology, we wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of seeing it in an FR-S at some point in the future.