French car technology developer and supplier, Valeo, has created a new breed of electric turbocharger and claims that it totally eliminates turbo lag.
Current turbocharger’s use exhaust gases to spin the turbine forcing extra air/fuel into the combustion chamber, Valeo has developed a system that uses an electric motor which continuously spins the turbine.
When not needed the turbo spins at 10,000 rpm providing a kind of reserve power which is instantly on demand. The system is effectively in continuous operation as opposed current turbochargers which respond when the driver depresses the accelerator pedal.
However the unit requires an energy sapping 48-volts of power, this inevitably impacts on power and consumption. The Valeo unit consumes much more energy in addition to taking up more space and costing more to make because of the increased amount of component technology.
Auto makers are unbowed, Audi has recently trialed the electric turbocharger and will be the first to bring the technology to market by 2016. Audi has plans to equip cars with both standard and electric turbo chargers. BMW are also considering a similar move.
Taking into account the extra power consumption, Valeo says that its electric turbocharger can reduce fuel consumption by between 7 and 20 percent.