Mercedes-AMG May Use Electric Turbos: Report Photo:

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Tony O'Kane | Jun, 14 2015 | 6 Comments

Mercedes-AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, is considering electrically-boosted turbochargers for the next generation of its A 45, CLA 45 and GLA 45 performance cars.

Somewhat similar to the ERS hardware used in AMG's Formula One programme, such technology sees a powerful electric motor sandwiched between the turbine and compressor of a turbocharger.

At low engine RPM when exhaust gas flow isn't sufficient for the turbo to work, the electric motor instead spools up the compressor to build boost earlier, almost eliminating turbo lag.

Functionally it's similar to a compound supercharger/turbocharger setup but without the weight, size or mechanical complexity. It also allows a larger turbocharger to be used, which would produce more power at high RPM but would be too inefficient at low RPM without an electric boost system.

The system would make the most sense on the 2.0 litre inline four that currenly powers the A 45 AMG, CLA 45 AMG and GLA 45 AMG, which produces 265kW of power and 450Nm of torque and has the highest specific output of any road car engine.

For now though, AMG has yet to commit to bringing its electric turbo tech to its road cars. Speaking to British mag Auto Express, Mercedes-AMG head of compact car development, Steffen Jastrow said the system had to be affordable first.

"They have to be faster and e-turbos are an option," he said.

"We use them in motorsport, but the technology has to be payable for the customer"

If AMG elects to adapt an e-turbo system for the road, the earliest we can expect to see it is likely sometime in 2017, when an all-new A-Class is expected to debut.

It won't be the only manufacturer to dabble with e-turbos though, with Audi's new A8 set to be the first production car with an e-turbo powertrain when it debuts next year.

Audi also revealed its TT Twin Turbo Clubsport Concept earlier this year, which uses electrically-assisted turbos to produce 441kW and 650Nm from just 2.5 litres of displacement.

MORE: Mercedes-Benz News and Reviews

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