Electric turbochargers have been discussed for years now, but Audi seems ready to bring this tech to the road. According to Australia’s Drive, the next Audi Q7 will launch with an electric turbocharger that eliminates the gremlin known as “turbo lag”.
Speaking with Audi’s head of diesel drivetrain development Ulrich Weiss, Drive learned that the electric turbocharger tech highlighted in the recent Audi RS 5 Concept will be ready for production “very soon”. With the next Audi Q7 set to debut this September at the Geneva Auto Show with a new TDI diesel engine, it’s not out of the question that the electric turbo could show up under the hood.
Why an electric turbocharger? Because electric motors spool up instantaneously, it eliminates the time it traditionally takes for turbochargers to reach their max RPM and thus, maximum output. In the RS 5, the electric turbo supplemented by a large traditional turbocharger, which would take over once the engine exceeded 3,000 RPM.
The Audi Q7 is shaping up to be a hotbed of high-tech gadgets, as it’s also been rumored that an all-electric version of the Q7 is in the works as a competitor to the Model X. A plug-in hybrid version of the Q7 is almost certainly in the cards as well, giving it a wider array of drivetrain options than most competitors.
As far as the electric turbo goes, its the kind of technology I can see finding its way into cheaper and more popular cars as the costs come down and the benefits go up.