The future of turbo chargers
What is next? The answer is E-Turbo. Yes, in the near future, some of that extra power will come from electric turbos.
As the world’s governments continue to crackdown on fuel economy and emissions regulations, small-displacement turbocharged engines have started to become commonplace. Smaller displacement turbocharged engines can return excellent fuel economy if driven carefully but practically not producing a lot of power. For this reason, automakers have begun to use them in order to meet these increasingly strict emissions standards and deliver customers the same levels of engine power as before or sometimes even higher.
Indian auto emission standards are becoming more stringent now in the BS6 era. On the other side, Indian consumers are beginning to mature to more efficient, clean and powerful vehicles packaged in compact sizes available at affordable prices. This has led to the rise of automakers in India to explore a new type of downsized turbocharged petrol engines that are efficient but also pack a mean punch.
Under Rs 20 lakh price bracket in India, there are many options available for Indian consumers for a powerful turbo petrol vehicles like Hyundai Venue, Tata Nexon, Mahindra XUV300, Kia Sonet, Hyundai Creta, Nissan Kicks, Kia Seltos GT-Line and the upcoming Nissan Magnite. This long list tells you the need for high powered engines from the customers.
So, what is next? The answer is E-Turbo. Yes, in the near future, some of that extra power will come from electric turbos. It wasn’t long ago that the idea of the electric turbocharger was more of a joke, which was before the adoption of the 48-volt electrical system by automakers. However, this has changed the amount of power that automotive systems have to use, quadrupling the wattage while maintaining the same wire size and current.
If you look at the auto industry, it has been working towards 48-volt electrical systems for a number of years, as engineers foresaw that mainstream 12-volt technology would soon be overwhelmed by the increasing power demands of modern cars. Audi and Mercedes-Benz already have 48-volt systems in production, allowing them, among other things, to use advanced mild-hybrid drivetrains to give you a serious electric performance boost.
Turbocharger manufacturers are working on to launch the first electric turbocharger for production vehicles in 2021. This new E-Turbo is yet another way to help boost the efficiency of the internal combustion engine. The turbocharger specialists want to take advantage of 48-volt technology with a forthcoming product called E-Turbo, which places an electric motor between the turbo’s intakes and exhaust turbines. Like a conventional turbocharger, it has a turbine wheel in the exhaust that spins a compressor wheel in the intake, using waste exhaust heat to force more air into the engine. The turbo will still be powered by the engine’s exhaust, but the electric motor will eliminate turbo lag and improve engine responsiveness. Manufacturers say the E-Turbo will help an engine reach its peak power output in less time to provide better acceleration, and can also help reduce your car’s fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
In this new technology a small electric motor on the shaft runs between the two halves of the turbocharger. That allows for the electric motor to spin up the turbo more quickly, adding boost immediately from idle and both eliminating turbo lag and freeing automakers from the restraint of sizing the turbo for off-idle acceleration, which lets the engine use a turbo that’s more efficient at normal operating speeds. The other benefit is that the E-Turbo can actually recover energy from the engine when more boost isn’t needed by allowing the turbo to be used to help recharge the mild-hybrid battery. However, even non-hybrids that use the E-Turbo will be able to boast better performance for your next car.
Electric superchargers aren’t new, Audi uses one to jump-start the turbos on many of its 48V cars, but this E-Turbo saves the automaker from adding a separate component and system into the intake and exhaust paths. The E-Turbo that is under testing could get the engine to target torque in 1 second vs 4.5 seconds for a conventional turbo and that it could increase power and torque while reducing emissions. The technology seems like it could be a fit for any automakers working on 48V and soon available for other cars.
As the turbocharger enables a small engine to produce more power, manufacturers can downsize their engine displacement. A smaller engine is typically a bit better on gas than a larger one, which contributes toward some fuel savings. Turbocharged engines also utilize the engine’s hot, expelled air to spin a compressor wheel and draw in outside air, reducing the amount of waste produced. For these reasons, a turbocharged engine can be more efficient than a naturally aspirated one when driven carefully.