BMW is known for staying ahead of the curve in technological advancements, and rumors have been flying for months about the brand working on improvements for forced induction. Reports have just been released that BMW has put a patent on an electronic turbo charger.
Turbos are a fairly common choice for automakers as a good way to get big power out of small motors. Running off exhaust gases, the turbo forces a greater amount of air through the motor, causing a more rapid combustion rate, which equates to more power. The ongoing problem with turbos is what is known as turbo lag. Smaller-sized turbos react quickly but don’t hold on the top end, while a larger one will hold up at higher rpms, but doesn’t have the same rapid response as the the smaller size. That slow reaction is known as turbo lag.
The way BMW has seemed to resolve this issue is with its electronic turbo charger, which uses a set of clutches that either engage or release, independently or together, at the proper time to give out the most amount of power. For example, stepping on the gas pedal engages the first clutch, causing the turbo to spool right away.
As you continue to speed up, the first clutch will disengage, allowing the second to close and provide power until the motor is maxed out, in which case both clutches release. At this point, the electric motor recharges its battery as an alternator would, while it is not in use. This replaces the function of a wastegate by simultaneously regulating how quickly the turbo spins, making the wastegate a now unnecessary component.
This awesome technology could be solving a problem that has existed as long as the turbocharger itself has. BMW is continually impressive in its advancements, but this one is the most exciting I’ve encountered, overall, in a while. Could this make it under the hood of the next M3?
Photo Renderings: 2014 BMW M3 Sedan:
– By: Alexandra Koken