Forced induction has become very popular throughout the years and has many benefits over naturally aspirated engines. Depending on your preference Forced Induction vehicles can help achieve better gas mileage if you don’t have a heavy foot, but if you need the power Forced Induction also creates amazing power gains no matter what your engine displacement is.
Between 1905 and 1916 General Motors developed the first turbochargers for early aircraft engines and with the advancement in CNC blade-machining technology, variable geometry turbines (VGT), computer modeling, and electronic engine management. Turbochargers have only improved throughout the years and became even more efficient. Engines make more power by adding forced induction. Forced Induction increases the density of air entering the engine by pressurizing it above atmospheric pressure.
As of now, there are two types of Forced induction applications that you will typically find on vehicles which are turbochargers and Superchargers. Superchargers are crankshaft-driven and give you instant power, but it has flaws. With it being belt-driven Supercharger systems cause energy to be robbed from the engine’s natural rotation to power the supercharger which is known as a parasitic loss. Another problem superchargers produce is it puts a huge amount of stress on an engine through kinetic energy and heat production. This makes your motor prone to heat soak if ran hard for too long and can cause a motor to blow easier due to the excessive heat.
Turbochargers aren’t belt-driven, but instead exhaust-driven which eliminates power being robbed from the motor like a supercharger. The gases from an exhaust system are used to spool the turbine and essentially suck air through the motor while a supercharger blows air through your engine. Turbochargers are efficient in almost every way when compared to a Supercharger, but with a supercharger being belt-driven it provides instant power and that’s the main problem with turbochargers. There is a delay between when the throttle is opened and the time it takes for the exhaust gas to spool the turbo which is referred to by many as turbo lag. A smaller turbocharger takes less time to spool but sacrifices top-end power. A bigger turbocharger can take quite a bit longer when compared to a smaller turbo, but when it does be prepared to take whoever is in your way to a pleasing (to you) full course meal to Gapplebee’s.
Turbo developer Garrett and automotive company Mercedes-AMG are about to release the first-ever production E-Turbocharger coming in 2021. With an E-Turbocharger, a high-speed electric motor is introduced and regulates shaft speeds making a Turbocharger not rely on exhaust gases to spool the turbo. This eliminates turbo-lag and creates boost the instant you open the throttle. The E-Turbo system also utilizes the turbo when it’s down spooling when you let off your throttle by allowing power to be recovered and converted sending power back to the battery making it even more efficient than previous Turbocharged technology. With the E-Turbo it can spool fully within a second and improve fuel efficiency by up to 10%. Be on the lookout for this new technology in production automobiles in 2021.