Technology supplier Garrett Motion says its first electrified turbocharger will debut in 2021. The turbo specialist, which was spun off by Honeywell International in late 2018, has nearly a dozen projects in the pipeline for its e-boosting systems. Chief Technology Officer Craig Balis spoke to Automotive News Europe Managing Editor Douglas A. Bolduc about the future of the technology.
How is Garrett helping automakers reduce CO2 to meet tougher EU's emissions rules that take effect this year?
With the electrification of the powertrain through hybridization you still have an internal combustion engine. Therefore, the efficiency of that engine remains critical to the efficiency of the overall hybrid powertrain. To help here it's possible to enable something the industry has been talking about for a long time, which is electrification of the boosting system. Rising demand for hybrids is opening the door for e-boosting, which is an area where we are very active. One example is the e-turbo.
By how much is CO2 reduced?
The first step is a fuel-efficiency improvement of about 15 percent.
Can e-turbos and hybrids be combined?
Yes. And there is potential to go further. We are just starting to understand all the benefits that you can achieve with the system.
How soon will these systems account for a high percentage of your turbocharger business?
It's too early to talk about percentages. We are working on the first launches today. You will see those on the street around 2021. There is a very high level of interest so we are involved in a lot of prototyping and testing to really lay out the roadmap for adoption.
How does it work?
If the hybrid powertrain provides a kilowatt of electric power from the battery, where do you want to put it? You can put it toward the traction motor or the electric motor that drives the car and get 1 kilowatt of motive power. However, if you put it into the turbocharger, which provides extra boost, then you get the magnification of the combustion cycle through the engine and that single kilowatt comes out as 10 kilowatts of power that goes to the wheels. That magnification is an indicator of the efficiency gain possible by using e-boosting systems.
How will the powertrain mix look in the future?
One of the trends we see is the continued growth of gasoline and gasoline boosting. As part of that we are seeing a move from the traditional waste gate technology toward variable geometry technology, which we have decades of experience in with our diesel turbos. VGT is the next step change in fuel efficiency and performance for gasoline powertrains. We had a first launch a couple of years ago with Volkswagen [a 1.5-liter gasoline engine that has the company's variable geometry turbocharger]. Now we are active with pretty much all customers.
What about diesel?
With diesel we are getting ready for Euro 7 and RDE [real driving emissions] regulations. We will see a new range of diesel engines that will be very, very clean.
Above both [the gasoline and diesel turbo development] will be hybridization. It will be a huge part of the future powertrain roadmap.