Future Mercedes-AMG Models Will Get Electric Turbos
Electric turbocharging is biggest trend going right when it comes to engine innovation, and now Mercedes-AMG is considering the new technology for use in future small-displacement, high-output engines in compact cars, including the next CLA 45 AMG.
The current 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG produces an enormous 360 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque from its traditionally turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. Not exactly lacking, but Mercedes-AMG compact car boss, Steffen Jastrow, recently told Auto Express that more power is needed and electric turbos are likely the way forward for compact AMGs.
“Of course we need more power for the next-generation of cars, but electrification does not mean we have to use an electric drivetrain,” says Jastrow. “They have to be faster and e-turbos are an option. We use them in motorsport, but the technology has to be payable for the customer.”
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Why it matters
Unlike traditional turbochargers, which are driven by exhaust gases, or superchargers, which are driven with the engine’s serpentine belt, electric turbos are driven by an electric motor. This means they don’t have to wait for exhaust pressure to build before spooling up (causing turbo lag) or sap power from the engine like a supercharger. Instead, they can spin at any speed at any point in the rev range, which eliminates turbo lag and boosts efficiency.
Sounds great, but electric turbochargers do add an extra layer of complexity. Audi will be the first company to bring electronic turbos to consumers when the next A8 is introduced as a 2017 model. It’s expected to have a 48-volt power system and a lithium-ion battery to store the enormous amount of energy required to instantly spin the turbo up to 70,000 rpm. The whole system carries a sizable weight penalty, but Audi claims to have reduced weight in the rest of the car by about 400 pounds. Similarly, Mercedes-AMG will also need to look at ways to offset the weight penalty of electric turbos.
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