The Subaru WRX STI may be dead, but the Japanese brand could be planning a new type of high-performance vehicle.
In a filing found by CarBuzz, the Japanese carmaker has trademarked the STe name with the German Patent and Trademark Office.
While the WRX STI is dead, the Subaru Tecnica International name survives on a range of performance parts and variants of its Forester and Impreza with cosmetic changes.
Subaru says a big challenge in keeping the STI badge alive was the increasingly strict emissions regulations in Europe and the US.
It has left the door open for the badge to return on an electrified model, though the trademark filing suggests Subaru could adorn future high-performance electric or hybrid models with the STe nameplate instead.
“Subaru Corporation is exploring opportunities for the next generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification,” the company said last March.
Last year Subaru revealed its STI E-RA concept, a quad-motor 800kW supercar that teased the future of electrification at the company.
Featuring torque vectoring technology which is aimed at increasing grip and stabilising the car’s body, the car also uses sensors to calculate vehicle and wheel speed, steering angle, G-Force, yaw rate, brake pressure and wheel load and then provides instructions to the inverter for maximum performance.
The concept is powered by a 60kWh lithium-ion battery.
Subaru plans to invest ¥250 billion (AU$2.875 billion) over the next five years to strengthen its EV development including a dedicated factory in Oizumi which is expected to open in 2027.
The company only has one full-electric vehicle, the Solterra, which is expected to arrive in Australia later this year after a delay.
It was developed with Toyota, which sells an almost identical vehicle called the bZ4X. It’s also due here this year.
Both electric vehicles are built at Toyota’s Motomachi assembly plant in Japan.
Subaru says it plans to have 40 per cent of its global sales attribute to battery or hybrid-electric models by 2030.