Turbocharging is not exactly a new technology, but it was formerly associated with performance. Now automakers are turning to turbocharging for fuel economy. A turbocharger is a turbine that uses an engine's own exhaust gasses to spin up. At the other end is a turbine that forces air into an engine's intake manifold. That pressurized air running into the cylinders creates a more forceful explosion, leading to more power.
Automakers use turbochargers to decrease engine displacement. Where a car might have previously used a six-cylinder engine, a turbocharged four-cylinder will suffice. During steady-speed cruising, the turbocharger is idle and the engine gets four-cylinder fuel economy. When the driver needs to accelerate, the turbo kicks in to provide the extra power.
September 29, 2011 5:04 PM PDT
Photo by: Honeywell
| Caption by: Wayne Cunningham
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