During the 80s, a large percentage of carshad turbochargers. Due to the energy crisis, automakers developed cars that deliver better fuel efficiency, although this compelled them to downsize engines. Turbochargers became popular. Not only does a turbocharger boost small engines, but it also delivers fuel efficiency.
The logic behind this technology is that turbochargers provide a four-cylinder engine the power of a six-cylinder. Technically, smaller engines would really perform better because of the reduced loss in friction and thermodynamics. That’s why automakers decided to just make a bigger engine that features similar efficiency, seeing turbo kits disappear on the automotive market.
As another energy crisis emerges, turbochargers are gradually making a comeback. But questions about performance circle around car enthusiasts. Is this “new” turbocharger better than its predecessor?
Better Steel Materials to Withstand Heat
An issue with turbochargers before was the heat produced as one side sits on the exhaust stream. To prevent the turbo from failing, it requires reduced temperature, which uses more fuel. Turbochargers today now use a stainless steel housing and enhanced nickel-alloy turbines that can withstand extreme temperatures.
Enhanced Energy Efficiency in System Design
Turbochargers before were generally energy efficient. But in reality, you can only get the efficiency if the engine runs at high speeds and maximum power. Modern system designs provide true efficiency. Cars can benefit from this advantage even at medium speeds and with light loads—a real and practical efficiency.
Added Direct Fuel Injection and Turbo Refinement
With advanced technologies, automakers now inject the fuel directly into the combustion instead of the intake stream. The fuel cools the intake charge, reducing harmful pre-ignition. Plus, turbochargers today are refined. A modern turbocharger spins about 20% faster in 200,000 rpm because the materials used are lighter and smaller.
Turbochargers are like Superman movies. They emerged due to public demand, and then went away. But now that people want them back, they’re coming back big,better-dressed, and with better overall features.