Gas Saving Autos Tupelo MS

There’s more out there than just direct-injection . Automakers are starting to take forced induction seriously as a way to create more power out of smaller engines, thereby saving fuel. Read on for more details.

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Maximizing Fuel Economy

Pushing Air: More Power Through Forced Induction By Zach Bowman, DriverSide Contributing Editor


A typical turbocharger.

Manufacturers all over the globe are scrambling to get the absolute best fuel economy out of their engines thanks to ever-wavering gas prices and a federal choke-hold on mileage requirements. While car companies in Europe have been slowly tweaking their engines over the past few decades to get the most efficiency possible out of them, the U.S. has lagged behind. The result is a slew of new-to-us tech popping up left and right. There’s more out there than just direct-injection . Automakers are starting to take forced induction seriously as a way to create more power out of smaller engines, thereby saving fuel.
 


The original MINI Cooper S
incorporated a
supercharger.



A typical supercharger.
Small European gasoline and diesel vehicles have benefited from forced induction for years as a way to sneak under displacement regulations and still produce the kind of power buyers want. In a forced induction engine, air is forced into the engine’s combustion chamber at a higher pressure than normal. The result is more compression, more oxygen and thereby more power with every stroke of the engine. Though forced-induction engines can be found on everything from massive diesel-powered ships to prop-driven aircraft, there are only three basic methods for internal-combustion engines: the mechanically driven supercharger, the turbocharger and the pressure-wave supercharger.
 
Of the three, the mechanical supercharger is likely the oldest, with the first patent going to Gottlieb Daimler in 1885. Daimler was a mechanical genius – helping pave the way for the modern internal-combustion engine and eventually founding the forefather of the automotive leviathan currently known as Daimler Auto Group. Daimler was instrumental in the production of the world’s first supercharged production vehicle – a 1923 Mercedes. Thanks to the bit of air-cramming tech on top of the four-cylinder motor, the car boasted a whopping 20 horsepower. That may not seem like much, but it was more than double what the naturally aspirated version produced.
 
While there are several variations on the mechanical supercharger these days, the principals in each are basically the same. Mechanical units are typically driven by a belt that runs from the vehicle’s crank pulley to the supercharger itself, using power from the engine to turn a set of turbines. Those turbines spin at an incredibly fast rate – sometimes as high as 15 times the normal rotational speed of the engine – to compress the air as it flows into the combustion chamber. 
 
There are plenty of benefits to this type of system. For one, power is instantaneous because the unit’s drive is directly connected to the motor. Mechanical superchargers are also the most efficient of all the forced-induction options out there &nd...

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