Audi are marching towards an e-turbo future claiming the emerging technology will replace traditional turbo’s in all future models. Audi will become the first car maker to use an electric turbo charger when the next generation Q7 is launched in 2016.
The key benefit of using electric turbo chargers are that they eliminate turbo lag by pushing air towards a standard turbocharger at a lower RPM than is possible with current turbo technology. Audi say their e-turbo also boosts power and decreases fuel consumption.
The technology has already been demonstrated in 2014, the RS5 TDi concept was fitted with an e-turbo. The 3.0 V-6 diesel and its standard power output of 385bhp was boosted to 315bhp.
Where Audi is leading in this field other car manufactures are likely to follow, Ford is one such company looking to develop the technology. BMW is less keen to do so citing current turbo technology is just as good.
There may well be another reason why BMW is less keen on e-turbo’s and that is such technology requires an increase in voltage to operate. The current 12 volt architecture is an industry standard platform.
Switching to a e-turbo platform would require a 48 volt architecture, Audi’s e-turbo requires 7-8 kilowatts of power to function.
The problem most manufactures have isn’t making the switch from a 12 to 48 volt platform but the costs involved in doing so. It may well be the case Audi leads from the front, alone for the time being which is both advantageous and disadvantageous at the same time.