Newer vehicles are often offered with a CVT, a continuously variable transmission ensuring a smooth driving experience. But this time, we are not talking about a CTV that transmits power to the wheels but about a compressor that improves engine performance. It is compact and easy to install and offers a substantial cost benefit over more complex devices.
Torotrak Group, the British leading developer of vehicle emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technologies, came up with new advances in CVT that promise increased energy efficiency and performance. They inserted a CVT in series with a conventional planetary gear set to drive a centrifugal compressor at adequate speed to improve the intake pressure in both and diesel and gasoline engines.
Torotrak’s V-Charge compressor weighs 13.2 pounds and a belt connected to the engine’s accessory drive system spins it. The toroidal CVT consists of particularly shaped driving and driven discs that spin without direct contact. It is located right behind the input drive pulley.
An electromechanical servo switches the CVT drive through its full 10-to-1 ratio spread in 0.4 seconds. The fixed planetary gear set is the next in line inside the V-Charge housing. The fixed planetary gear set multiplies shaft speed by a factor of nine.
At the end of the shaft, a housing that admits filtered air at atmospheric pressure and delivers it at boosted pressure to the engine’s intake manifold surrounds a centrifugal compressor wheel.
V-Charge spins between 10,000 and 100,000 rpm and is quieter than a Roots-type supercharger and cooler than any turbocharger. Only 10 watts of electrical power is what the servo controller needs to operate, so, a 48-volt electrical system is not required like in the electrically powered superchargers.
Torotrak had been developing this booster for more than a year.They were backed by the British government and were working together with the University of Bath and the Ford Motor Company. Torotrak prefers to license its V-Charge technology to some auto-industry supplier or to a carmaker, instead of manufacturing it in-house.