We just learned of the monstrous Audi SQ7 TDI and its use of an electric turbocharger, making it the first production automobile to use such technology. It’s an extremely impressive technology that should help push the bar forward for turbocharged engines. As it turns out, the Audi SQ7’s influence is rubbing off on other Audi products, as the upcoming Audi RS5 could gain such a turbocharger as well.
According to Dr Stefan Knirsch, Audi’s newest board member for technical development, the electric turbocharger technology can work for both gasoline and diesel engines. “It is applicable for both petrol and diesel engines, it doesn’t matter,” said Knirsch. When asked if Audi could use this tech on smaller engines, Knirsch simply said “Good idea. Let’s see,”.
But Audi is working on using this technology for gasoline engines. “We have already tested this technology in petrol engines with good success, and something may follow in future of course, once we develop such technology.” This could help out tremendously in Audi’s smaller engines, like the brand’s 1.0 liter unit.
But more importantly, it can be used in Audi’s performance models, which is most likely where it will start for gasoline engines. “First we are launching this technology in the sporty corner and then we’ll see,” he said. So it’s likely that these electric turbochargers could make their way to the Audi RS4 and RS5, more likely the latter which will come next year. This is a trend that will likely continue, as Audi is going to be downsizing its engines, “The number of cylinders won’t increase in future,” he said. “It’s most likely they will decrease again. Over the past 10 to 15 years we’ve seen high-performance cars with six-, eight- and 10-cylinder engines – those days are over.”
So Audi could possibly continue to downsize its engines in its performance models, such as S and RS models, and use the e-turbo technology to create great power gains while also increasing economy. A 3.0 liter turbocharged V6, likely with an e-turbo, could replace the 4.2 liter V8 currently being used in the RS5.