Patents suggests something cool is coming.
We've known for some time that Toyota and Subaru are working together on some new projects. And we hope to see a new vehicle announced on Monday, April 5. Perhaps the next generation Toyota 86? However, it may not be the only item in the menu for a reveal.
A user over on the GR86 forums has come across patents filed by Toyota and Subaru detailing a new electric car body and structure. With rumors abound of a hot hatch being co-developed by the Japanese automakers, this could be the new platform.
The patent gives no clue as to the shape or style of the car. However, it details a floor-mounted battery with a cross-member and rocker panel design that creates a frame to house a sealed battery container. The advantage is that the design allows extended space front to back for the batteries, meaning more cells can be packed in. The language used to describe the design is deliberately dense, but our interpretation is that by using the rectangular frame type design around the batteries strengthened by curved and hollow prism-shaped rockers, Toyota and Subaru have created a highly rigid chassis that can house larger batteries. According to the patent, the design means the frame is less likely to deform in the case of a lateral collision, and the body can "suitably protect the battery."
Rumors have been brewing for a long time about a GR Corolla and an AWD Subaru performance vehicle as co-ventures, both most likely hatchbacks. The only reference to motors is a singular "traction motor," but the patent is about the frame and body design. That leaves us wondering if this is the platform that both would be based on. It sounds like a long shot that either or both of the rumored cars could be revealed this soon, but the fact this patent is showing up just days before the reveal could be telling, and we're not taking the sedan body illustration as gospel. We may see an electric concept vehicle unveiled alongside the next-gen 86/BRZ on April 5.