German performance car maker Mercedes-AMG has revealed new e-Turbo technology that was first developed for F1 race cars will soon be used in their road-going models.
While Mercedes-AMG says it plans to use the e-Turbo in its passenger vehicles, which models will get the tech has not yet been confirmed. The technology was last seen on Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 car, known under the codename ‘MGU-H’.
For context, a conventional turbocharger works by using energy in the engine’s exhaust gases to spin a compressor in the car’s intake system. This compressor sucks in and pressurises air that is then forced into the engine, increasing power.
Exhaust gas-driven turbochargers tend to be very efficient at higher RPMs, however can suffer from what’s known as ‘turbo lag’ at lower engine speeds.
Due to the relatively small amount of energy produced by the exhaust gases, there can be a delay between the throttle input, and the engine power produced from a turbocharger spooling up.
An electric turbocharger does away with this issue by removing the exhaust component and replacing it with an electric motor fitted directly to the compressor. The result is a system that can compress air almost instantaneously, but cannot achieve the speeds necessary to sustain high-RPM driving.
Mercedes-AMG’s e-Turbo solves the problem by using both an electric motor and the exhaust gases to spin the compressor at alternating times under varying conditions.
This means the e-Turbo can improve responsiveness in the engine without giving up efficiency at higher engine speeds.
Further to this, the e-Turbo is able to convert back to electric power when the driver lifts off the throttle, maintaining turbo speed and providing instant power and response when the driver accelerates again.
Mercedes-AMG’s e-Turbo uses a 48 volt system, and is capable of operating at speeds up to 170,000rpm.