No, it is not a coincidence that you are seeing this story about Garrett getting into the electric turbocharger game right near the story bout Cleetus McFarland horsing around with the currently available aftermarket versions. It’s here to prove that this technology is going to be in OEM vehicles sooner rather than later. Now, which OE? That we do not know because Garrett is not telling us.
What we do know from this piece is the fact that these turbochargers are interesting in the fact that the electric side of things gets the unit spooled at low RPM when it would normally be waiting for the exhaust gasses to increase in volume to do that job. Once the engine gets into the RPM range where it would override the electric assist, it takes over and the electric assist goes away, allowing the unit to operate as a normal turbo. Upon deceleration the unit actually produces energy harnessing the inertia of the spinning turbo to send electricity back into the charging system or to the battery.
The real magic here is the fact that turbocharger sizing can be different. Larger turbochargers that smaller engines would struggle to spool at lower RPM can be used, fuel curves can be adjusted as boost curves change and as engines gets smaller this is all important stuff. Garrett says that 2-4% fuel efficiency increases should be common and they have seen up to 10% in ideal conditions (likely with an engine sitting on the dyno, we’re guessing).
We think it is neat to see this intersection of the aftermarket and the OE supplier side converging on virtually the same technology. Sure, Cleetus may have a more rudimentary model, but electrons are electrons, right?