The turbocharger technology was, and still is popular in the ‘modding’ scene due to their ability to add hilarious amounts of horsepower quite easily. However, as emissions regulations become more and more stringent, while customers demand more and more power from their cars, the technology has now become commonplace in even small econobox hatchbacks.
With great power though, comes great turbo lag. Due to the way turbochargers work which requires a build-up of exhaust gas before max power is achieved, the delay in throttle response means that it’s not the best solution to precision track driving.
Sure, we’re promised electric cars in the future with insane and always-available torque. But while we’re still working our way there, turbochargers are here to stay – and fortunately, Mercedes-AMG has apparently found a solution to the turbo lag problem.
The technology, called “electric exhaust gas turbocharger” (we’re just gonna call it eTurbo for now), can trace its roots to the brand’s recent successful involvement in Formula 1. Developed in partnership with Garrett Motion, an American turbocharger maker, the system uses a slim electric motor sandwiched between the turbine and compressor wheel to drive the turbocharger before sufficient exhaust gas pressure is built up.
As a result, engine response across the entire engine speed range is “significantly improved”, effectively removing turbo lag as the turbocharger can still maintain boost pressure even if the driver’s foot is off the accelerator. In addition, the eTurbo also increases torque output at low engine speeds, improving acceleration capabilities from standstill.
Here’s how Mercedes-AMG eTurbo works – it will be powered by an on-board 48V electrical system, which pushes can push the turbocharger up to 170,000 rpm. In order to keep the entire system cool, the turbocharger, electric motor, and its power electronics are all connected to the main engine cooling loop.
Mercedes-AMG Chairman Tobias Moers said, “We have clearly defined our goals for an electrified future. In order to reach them, we are relying on discrete and highly innovative components as well as assemblies.
“In a first step this includes the electrified turbocharger – an example of the transfer of Formula 1 technology to the road, something with which we will take turbocharged combustion engines to a previously unattainable level of agility.”
Mercedes-AMG’s “eTurbo” or electrified turbocharger is now in its final stages of development, and will be used in a series-production AMG model in the near future.