A Bunch of Students Built a Hybrid Subaru BRZ
This plug-in hybrid Subaru BRZ is the most notable thing to come out of Mississippi State University since John Grisham. Students at the university's Center For Advanced Vehicular Systems built this one off BRZ as part of the "Car Of The Future" initiative, and I have to commend them for choosing a two door sports car as a platform for the project. The car was on display this week at the SAE World Congress in Detroit, and no doubt turned lots of heads with its lovely maroon paint job. In addition to looking sharp, this BRZ puts up impressive numbers, including a total range of 574 miles, and a 0-60 time of 5.7 seconds. For comparison, a stock BRZ has range of 370 miles, and a 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds. Improved range, and better acceleration usually come from making a vehicle lighter, but when adding an electric motor, that's out of the question. But if you're really smart—which these students most certainly are—you can come up with a system that adds a minimal amount of weight. The battery setup in this car adds just 374 lbs, and with additional weight savings from a custom designed cast magnesium rear subframe, the total mass comes in a 2,904 lbs, just 80 lbs heavier than a stock BRZ. RELATED: See More of the 2013 Subaru BRZ
Subaru has remained stumped by the question of how to to increase sales of the ultra niche BRZ, with sales peaking at just 8,587 units in 2013. People who love driving know that it's an incredibly fun car right out of the box, and makes for a great platform to build upon. But that's a very small percentage of the population these days.
Who knows, maybe if Subaru took the direction of these MSU students and built a hybrid BRZ, it might just be the sales boost the cars needs.
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