How Mercedes-AMG Will Use Electric Turbos From F1 to Kill Lag in Road Cars

Now how about some dual-axis steering?

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How Mercedes-AMG Will Use Electric Turbos From F1 to Kill Lag in Road Cars © How Mercedes-AMG Will Use Electric Turbos From F1 to Kill Lag in Road Cars

It's no secret that electrification is the future of faster, more efficient motoring, but before the EVs fully take over, volt-assisted internal combustion cars are here today to bridge the gap between the past and the future. Borrowing technology from Formula 1, Mercedes-AMG is showing off a new way electricity will make its gas-powered road cars both friendlier to the environment and better to drive: electrified forced induction.

Merc's performance arm has detailed what it calls the electric exhaust gas turbocharger: a turbocharger with a small, 1.6-inch electric motor slapped on the turbo shaft in between the exhaust-side turbine wheel and the fresh air-side compressor wheel that spools up the latter before accepting exhaust flow. If you only know some of those words, all you need to know is that the system aims to eliminate turbo lag and significantly improves response across the rev range, offering the best of both small, quick-responding turbos and big, slower ones with huge peak performance.

Powered by a 48-volt electrical system and developed with American turbo-maker Garrett Motion, the electrified turbo can hit speeds of up to 170,000 rpm and even maintain boost pressure while decelerating, ensuring it's ready to rock the instant the driver hits the gas again and making it slightly more advanced than the discount blower you recently snagged on eBay for a song. It also makes more torque from low revs which the company says will improve a car's ability to launch from a stop, surely shortening its all-important zero to 60 mph time. The electric motor's impact on the "whooshes and hisses" department, meanwhile, remains to be heard.

"We have clearly defined our goals for an electrified future. In order to reach them, we are relying on discrete and highly innovative components as well as assemblies," said outgoing AMG boss Tobias Moers. "With this move, we are strategically supplementing our modular technology and tailoring it to our performance requirements. In a first step, this includes the electrified turbocharger—an example of the transfer of Formula 1 technology to the road, something with which we will take turbocharged combustion engines to a previously unattainable level of agility."

As for when and where the electro-turbo system will show up in a road-going AMG, the company is keeping things vague, saying, "In the future, this new turbocharger will be used in a series production model from Affalterbach," emphasis ours. The idea of Mercedes only implementing this on a single vehicle like the upcoming GT 73 4-Door or something seems unlikely so perhaps we're reading too much into things.

Fingers crossed for dual-axis steering on the next C 63.

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