Given that it put its Subaru nameplate on the world stage with zippy turbocharged versions of the Impreza sedan, it comes as no surprise to learn from Japanese reports that manufacturer Fuji Heavy Industries has begun to develop hybrid powertrains in which electric motors will perform the functions of today's turbochargers.

Fuji is said to be focused on high performance but has noted environmental concerns and is also aiming for high fuel efficiency.

However, it seems that the Subaru hybrids will work in a similar manner to the current Honda Insight with its Integrated Motor Assist hybrid power unit that kicks in an electric motor to help out the petrol engine when extra power is required.

Hybrid Subarus will run on their petrol engines at cruising speeds but, when extra urge is required, the electric motor will provide the same sort of boost the exhaust gas-driven turbocharger currently delivers.

Despite the apparent similarity to the Honda hybrid approach, the Subaru engineers say their hybrids will have a unique high-performance character very different from 'conventional' hybrid systems.