Mercedes-AMG electrifies the turbocharger

Formula 1 technology used to eliminate turbo lag

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turbo
Mercedes-AMG has inserted a tiny electric motor into the turbocharger to enhance dynamic performance | Mercedes-AMG photo and illustration

“The future of Mercedes-AMG is turning electric,” the German maker of high-performance vehicles reports in its latest news release, this one dealing with the electrification of the turbocharger to “take performance to a new level.”

“The latest achievement which is already in the final stages of development is the electric exhaust gas turbocharger, which in future will be used for the first time in a series production model from Affalterbach.”

Working with Garrett Motion, Mercedes-AMG is moving technology from the Formula 1 racing circuit to the public roadway by adding a small (4mm or 0.15 inch) electric motor on the shaft between the exhaust-side turbine wheel and the compressor wheel on the fresh air side.”

What the electric motor does is to drive the compressor wheel even before the presence of exhaust gas that usually triggers the turbo.

“The electrification of the turbocharger significantly improves immediate response from idle speed and across the entire engine speed range,” Mercedes-AMG said. 

“The so-called turbo lag – the delayed response of a conventional turbocharger – is eliminated by the electric motor. The result is that the combustion engine responds even more spontaneously to accelerator pedal input, and the entire driving feel is significantly more dynamic and agile. 

“In addition, electrification of the turbocharger enables higher torque at low engine speeds, which also enhances agility and optimizes acceleration capability from a standstill. 

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“Even when the driver takes their foot off the accelerator or applies the brakes, the technology of the electric turbocharger is able to maintain the boost pressure at all times, so that a continuous direct response is guaranteed.”

Mercedes-AMG said this new electrified turbocharger will be deployed in the next generation of its vehicles.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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