While turbos have become all the rage as automakers look to squeeze more power out of smaller engines in the name of efficiency, Audi is looking to jump ahead of the competition by using an electric turbocharger on the 2015 SQ7.
The new generation of the Q7 utility vehicle debuts with the 2015 model, and for the high-performance version will be outfitted with the “e-boost” technology. The reveal of the new Q7 should take place in October at the Paris Motor Show, with the model launching in 2015. The SQ7 won’t come to market until 2016, which gives Audi time to work out any kinks with the electric turbo.
One of the biggest reasons to use a turbo that is driven by electricity instead of exhaust gases is the lack of the notorious turbo lag, a problem automakers have tried to reduce with innovations like twin-scroll and twin-turbo setups. With an electric motor, the turbo spools up considerably faster, which positively affects not only performance but also the vehicle’s fuel economy.
In the past, Audi has toyed with the idea of an electric turbocharger on the RS5 coupe, a prototype vehicle that has a 3.0-liter TDI V6 diesel engine instead of the production gasoline-powered V8. The setup was a little different in the prototype coupe since the electric turbo was paired up with a much larger conventional turbocharger. At higher engine revs, the system bypassed the smaller electric snail shell, favoring the larger one powered by the exhaust since it proved to be the more efficient design. That the SQ7 will have a twin-turbo engine seems likely considering the current SQ5 is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 in the European market.
Other automakers are rumored to be toying with electric turbochargers as well, which is looking like yet another push to electrify vehicles even more in the name of consuming less gas.