Measuring the Benefits and Costs of Ceramic Turbochargers: The Perspective from the Driver's Seat 861129
The development of high-strength structural ceramics has many implications for advanced engine technology. Turbocharger rotors are an ideal early application of structural ceramics and are already in production in small volumes. Aside from the technical achievement this represents, what are the measurable benefits to employing this new technology to production vehicles from the manufacturer's and drivers point of view?
This paper examines the results of a number of back-to-back performance tests of production vehicles equipped with ceramic and conventional turbochargers. The purpose was to more clearly quantify the benefits of this advanced turbo-charger technology. A variety of acceleration tests were conducted by both independents and manufacturers. In addition, personal observations are included from more than 20,000 miles and a year of experience driving a production turbocharged car with a ceramic turbocharger. Benefits and costs of using this new technology in turbochargers are discussed, with emphasis on changes in vehicle behavior and related marketing implications.*