The next generation of über-Benzes will boast electric turbochargers to boost performance and efficiency.
The new turbo design, developed by AMG with Garrett Motion and spun off from Formula 1, combines a conventional exhaust gas turbo with a tiny electric motor to eliminate lag and increase power over an exhaust-blown device.
Historically there’s always been a turbo trade-off. For big power you bag a big turbo, for rapid response you stick with a smaller device that spools up quickly. AMG reckons it can have the best of both by installing a 1.5-inch electric motor on the charger shaft between the turbine wheel on the exhaust side and the compressor wheel on the fresh air side. Powered by the car’s 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system the motor can spin the turbo at up to 170,000 rpm.
This means that throttle response is more instant and the engine can produce higher torque at lower rpm and the electric motor can maintain boost even when the driver is off the throttle or the car is stationary. Bye-bye turbo lag.
Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, says this technology will, “take turbocharged combustion engines to a previously unattainable level of agility.”
At present, Mercedes packs its 48-volt mild-hybrid AMG E53 with a straight-six engine that combines an electric supercharger for low-end grunt with an exhaust-driven turbocharger. This latest setup evolves that concept, integrating an electric motor within the turbo to handle low-rev duty until exhaust gases build to supply the turbo’s boost. Fascinating stuff.