Listen. I HATED turbocharging. Here's why, very quickly:

Better fuel economy from turbos is kind of a myth:

Modern turbo engines generally have no engine note: Barring a few cars that use tricks, like the Focus ST. Youtube a 911 Turbo vs a 911 GT3 and tell me which one sounds better.

Modern turbo engines STILL generally don't spool until ~3K... manufacturers lie on their torque ratings.


GTI supposedly makes peak torque from 1800 RPM.... where does it look like the torque is peaking to you on this graph?


Porsche claims the 997 Turbo makes peak torque at 1950 RPM... not even close.


So there are a lot of lies and myths that are perpetuated that keep folks thinking turbocharging is some magic cure all. Can it get a lot of power out of a small engine? Sure, but it doesn't come without some penalties.

However, F1 is finally lending some credibility to those Ebay electric superchargers (though I'm sure F1's electric turbos cost a little more than $30 shipped). It's using a combo of exhaust gas and electricity to pressurize the intake charge.


But all is not lost, as there is another ERS device on board to supplement the power-hungry diet. The second addition for 2014 is the introduction of a thermal capture device. The similarly named Motor Generator Unit - Heat (MGU-H), attached directly to the turbocharger shaft, captures exhaust heat and coverts it, like the kinetic system, into electrical energy. This capturing device has the ability to dump power straight into the system on demand or store it in the Energy Store for later use. When activated, the MGU-H gives drivers another electric power shot to the drive wheels via the dedicated generator unit. And unlike the MGU-K, the thermal recovery unit can provide unlimited supplemental power throughout the race. For 2014, Formula 1 has limited energy recovery from the MGU-K to 2 megajoules (MJ) per lap with the ability to release stored energies to a maximum of 4 MJ per lap.

Another fancy power management trick is the way in which the MGU-H thermal unit manages turbo speed. Contrary to a conventional turbocharger system where a wastegate is used to vent out excess engine pressures derived from the turbocharger, the new unit actually controls the speed of the turbocharger impeller. The ability to speed up or slow down the turbo allows teams to not only better manage wastegate pressures in the engine but to spin up the turbocharger low in the rev cycle. As boost is enabled sooner, power comes on quicker, and that power procrastination thing known as turbo-lag essentially disappears from the equation.


Redbull did a sick video showing all this tech working together as well:

Now I'm not a huge fan of hybrids either, but this kind of system could maximize the benefits and minimize the downsides of both. An electric motor spinning up the turbo means you'd have damn near Roots supercharger type torque without the parasitic loss- it would come from regenerative braking and energy from the exhaust. You could get significantly better, damn near hybrid level fuel economy by pressurizing part load intake charge and getting past the part throttle induction losses. Etc. So you'd actually make good on more usable around town torque and appreciably improved fuel economy, as well as improve throttle response. You still wouldn't get back the nasty engine note of something like a GT3 though, which to me is very important, but it would be way better of a tradeoff. Too many good N/A engines have died for turbocharging (all of BMW's NA motors, MB "6.3", VW VR6)... we need to get something back for them.