DETROIT – Promising to move Fuji Heavy Industries Inc.’s Subaru auto-making arm into upscale territory by applying brand principles taken from its aircraft-manufacturing experience, Fuji President Kyoji Takenaka unveils Subaru’s B9SC and R1e concepts at the North American International Auto Show here.

The assertive B9SC 2-seater conceals Subaru’s prototype Sequential Series Hybrid Electric Vehicle drivetrain, which employs a 2L DOHC horizontally opposed 4-cyl. gasoline engine and an electric motor.

Takenaka says the gasoline engine is meant primarily as an electricity generator for the electric motor; at speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h), the B9SC is propelled solely by the electric motor. Only when accelerating or sustaining speeds in excess of 50 mph does the boxer engine supplement the electric motor’s power via a 2-way clutch.

Takenaka says the SSHEV system employs a prototype manganese lithium-ion battery pack that promises twice the power capacity of batteries in contemporary production HEVs.

He says the battery is in the final evaluation phase. Equally important, he says the SSHEV system can be packaged “with no modification” in the all-wheel-drive architecture of Subaru’s existing vehicles and promises the system is “applicable in any model in any segment.”

The development of the prototype manganese lithium-ion battery is crucial to the R1e concept car, says Takenaka,. The R1e is an electric-only vehicle meant primarily for urban use.

Takenaka says when the new battery is ready for production, it will provide the driving range necessary to make pure-electric power viable for city vehicles.

bvisnic@primediabusiness.com