I’ve spent a lot of time around the car hobby, and I’ve seen some pretty stupid people do some pretty stupid things. My favorite story involves a V6 Mustang and a leafblower strapped to the air intake, approximating a cobbled together stand-alone supercharger of sorts. Alas, no one ever explained to this man-child that if you add more air, you also need to add more fuel. His engine did not last too long.
But a UK company may be on the right track with an electric supercharger that actually works. Not only does it provide a 40-50% bump in power and torque, but also a 20% decrease in CO2 emissions.
A quick primer on superchargers. The typical supercharger uses a belt, wrapped around the front of the crankshaft, to turn a turbine mounted in front of or on top of the engine. This pushes more air in, allowing more fuel to be burnt, and more power to be made. Superchargers are often used in performance applications like the Shelby GT500.
The electric supercharger by Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) uses electricity, rather than the host engine, to turn the turbine. This eliminates parasitic horsepower loss cause by the belt required to turn the turbine (every belt-driven system on your car drains horsepower, the more belts you have the more horsepower you lose). When tested on a 1.2 liter turbocharged engine, the results were 59% more torque at low RPM without any additional CO2 emissions. Electric superchargers could offer a promising alternative to more costly ways of improving power and fuel efficiency, though it is hardly a solution to all our problems.
Still, I want one for my Jeep…