Torotrak wins $340K funding for V-Charge project; supercharger integrated with mechanical variable speed drive
Torotrak PLC has been awarded a grant of £205,000 (US$340,000) under the Technology Strategy Board’s Smart scheme to develop an application specific, production intent version of its V-Charge technology. With additional support from a major OEM and a Tier One supplier, Torotrak will work in partnership with the University of Bath Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre to optimize the technology around an advanced production engine.
|Torotrak’s V-Charge technology combines a proven compressor with Torotrak’s compact variable drive Click to enlarge.|
V-Charge integrates a supercharger with a mechanical variable speed drive to address a key barrier to engine downsizing by providing near instant response at any engine speed. This ability allows the boosting of smaller engines across their full operating range with a single V-Charge device, unlike an electric supercharger that would require the addition of a turbocharger to achieve the same spread of performance, the company claims.
The opportunity to fully exploit the potential of V-Charge by manipulating various engine parameters, such as valve timing, injection modes, and exhaust gas recirculation means we can develop the optimum production-feasible installation for a homologated vehicle. This allows us to evolve a purpose-made unit that brings the technology much closer to market than previous proof-of-concept hardware.—Andrew De Freitas, Torotrak’s product director
To optimise V-Charge for the intended application, extensive modeling and validation will be carried out by the University of Bath using simulation based on models from the supporting OEM. As the variable drive is scalable for different power requirements and the ratio spread can be adjusted to suit the application, a purpose-designed unit will be developed and multiple prototypes produced.
One system will allow assessment and demonstration in a baseline vehicle, while another is intended for evaluation in a larger vehicle, where current boosting technologies struggle to provide acceptable performance. Delivering the driver feel of a much larger, more powerful engine in this context would be considered a breakthrough and could set new industry standards for truly driveable downsized engines, the company hopes.