The future of high performance vehicles is electrification, whether that means full-on plug-in hybrids like the Porsche 918 Spyder, or more subtle technologies like supercapacitors. While the jury is still out on just which path the Bugatti Veyron successor will take, Automobile Magazine says a pair of electric turbochargers could help push it past 1,500 horsepower.
Likely to be called the Bugatti Chiron, engineers have decided to focus on shedding weight versus designing an entirely new drivetrain. That means the fuel-gulping 8.0 liter W16 quad-turbo engine is going to carryover from the Veyron, but not entirely unchanged. A pair of electronic turbochargers will replace two of the conventional turbos, pumping up low-end power in particular and, along with direct injection and an increase in boost, will bring the horsepower level from 1,200 to around 1,500 galloping ponies.
Bugatti’s parent company Volkswagen has made electric turbos a priority on their next-gen engines, with Audi leading the way in adoption of this new technology. Rather than running off of the engine’s exhaust gases, electric turbos spool instantaneously, eliminating entirely the concept of turbo lag. This will also let Bugatti engineers add much larger standard turbochargers to the 8.0 liter engine, which could bring top speed to 288 MPH, tantalizingly close to that 300 MPH milestone.
Another factor in the highest speed will be a lower weight, with some 92% of the Veyron’s parts redesigned for extra structural rigidity and less weight. Cabron fiber will play an increasingly large role in keeping the pounds off, with power sent to all four wheels through a new seven-speed DSG transmission, which will be beefed up to handle the estimated 1,100 lb-ft of torque.
None of this is set in stone though, and there’s still the chance the next Bugatti could go down the hybrid route. Believe it or not, 2015 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Veyron, and with its successor scheduled for 2016 at the soonest, there’s still time to embrace plug-in performance. Rivals like the Tesla Model S P85D and Rimac Concept_One may not match the Veyron in top speed, but in terms of raw acceleration these electric supercars can stand shoulder to shoulder to the legendary Bugatti.
Electric turbos are a baby step in the right direction, but if Volkswagen truly wants to plug into the future, the next Bugatti should be a hybrid at the very least.