French parts supplier Valeo has developed an electric turbocharger that completely eliminates turbo lag. This new turbocharger is driven by an electric motor instead of exhaust-driven.
When the turbine does not need to be involved, the pump wheel will still rotate at 10,000 rpm, so when the driver depresses the accelerator significantly, the intervention of the turbine is not hesitating and quite straightforward. The disadvantages of this equipment are high price and high energy consumption. In addition, the turbine requires the support of a 48-volt power supply system, which means that additional power electronics are required. But despite this, automakers showed great interest.
Audi has already begun testing electric turbine technology, and it is likely to be the first brand to bring this technology to the market. * Nearly Audi conducted a test drive in Pikes Peak, Colorado, USA. Audi R&D director Ulrich Hackenberg hinted that there will be new model interviews in 2016, equipped with electric turbines and conventional exhaust turbines. Mercedes-Benz R&D director Thomas Weber said that the technology is practical and may be a good choice when combined with a 48-volt or higher voltage power supply system. He believes that the electric turbine is a strong competitor of the two-stage turbocharger.
Two-stage turbocharger uses two turbines, one for low speed and the other for high speed. Nikolai Ardey, BMW’s head of engine development, said that although BMW is also studying the technology, it has not overlooked other possibilities. A powertrain expert at General Motors believes that the technology is “interesting but needs further research.”
Valeo says that electric turbines can reduce fuel consumption by 7 to 20 percent. Valeo Powertrain Director Curt Estes believes that when the electric turbine is paired with a braking kinetic energy recovery system to generate electricity and drive the turbine with the recovered kinetic energy, the fuel saving level can reach 20%. Since General Motors mass-produced the 1962 Chevrolet Corvair After the turbocharger, automotive engineers have been improving the technology.
Turbocharging presses more fuel and air into the cylinder, allowing the engine to generate more power. However, the disadvantage of turbocharging is that the exhaust of the engine needs to drive the turbine, which leads to an increase in exhaust back pressure and poor exhaust. In addition, there is generally a lag time between when the driver steps on the accelerator and when the turbo accelerates to working speed.
Valeo’s Estes said that the company’s electric turbo pump can accelerate to 70,000 rpm in just one second, thereby eliminating turbo lag. In addition, its installation location is close to the side of the engine’s intake manifold.
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