It's only a theory right now, but with internal combustion engine bans looming, is it too little too late?

Internal combustion engines have come a long way in the last 10 years, and a big part of that is due to the little whirly thing we call a turbocharger. Once an item relegated to the realm of high performance (or in the diesel world, something to offer a bit more horsepower with gobs of available torque), these days turbos power everything from insane hypercars to modest sedans and ultra-frugal subcompacts, and it looks like they are here to stay. At least, until battery technology is dialed in better for all-electric power.

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Car and Driver recently posted up a very interesting article on a possible evolution for turbos, and we do mean that in the plural sense. We’re familiar with single and dual turbocharger systems, not to mention the bonkers quad-turbo arrangement for the 1,600-horsepower mill in the Bugatti Chiron. Generally speaking, more turbos mean more power, but they can also serve to help eliminate the biggest drawback to turbocharged engines – turbo lag.

This proposed theory seeks to wipe out lag while also offering performance benefits by adding turbos – one for each cylinder. The turbos would be considerably smaller, allowing them to spool faster while requiring less energy to do so. They would also be mounted extremely close to the cylinder head, meaning both intake charges and exhaust gases would have very little distance to travel before coming into play.

We’ll leave the in-depth explanation for you to check out at Car and Driver if you’re interested in more, but the theory sounds very intriguing. It also sounds very expensive, as the design would require more turbos, more plumbing, and two individual throttles for each cylinder. We’re also curious what kind of cooling system upgrades would be required to deal with the added heat.

Turbos for every cylinder could work well, but with numerous cities and countries ready to ban internal combustion engine vehicles in as little as 20 years, the theory could be too little too late.

Source: Car and Driver

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