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AMG considers electric turbochargers for future performance cars

Audi recently made some very public demonstrations of its interest in electric turbochargers, but it may not be the only carmaker toying with the technology.

While Audi will likely use electric turbos to give the next Q7 an extra dose of efficiency, Mercedes-Benz AMG is reportedly considering using them for something more fun.

According to Australia’s Drive, Mercedes’ captive tuner is working closely with the company’s Formula One team to put electric turbos and other F1 technology to road cars.

For the 2014 season, all F1 teams are required to run a “power unit” consisting of a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 and an electric motor. While direct road-car applications for this highly-regulated yet high-performing powertrain are difficult, Mercedes hopes to get the F1 and AMG engineers on the same page.

An electric turbocharger for a future AMG model appears to be the most promising potential fruit of this collaboration.

A normal turbocharger uses exhaust gases to drive air into the engine, so its operation is dependent on engine speed. Oftentimes a turbo has to spool up to produce maximum boost, creating dreaded “turbo lag.”

An electric motor’s ability to instantly spool up a turbo could take care of that problem, allowing for more boost (and more power) at lower revs for greater fuel efficiency, but also quicker acceleration.

That’s especially relevant to AMG, which has gone turbo-crazy over the past few years.

In response to tightening global emissions standards, AMG has used turbocharging rather than displacement to increase power in its bigs V8 and V12 engines, allowing it to make them (somewhat) smaller.

Engineers also managed to extract a mind-boggling 355 horsepower from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that powers the CLA45 AMG and GLA45 AMG. Imagine putting a lag-less electric turbo on one of those.

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