The first patent for a turbocharged engine back in the 1900s was made by a Swiss mechanical engineer named Alfred Büchi. His turbocharger made him known in the forced induction field. The first applications of turbocharger were limited to massive engines until turbocharging was equipped with trucks, beginning the introduction of turbocharging in the automotive industry.
In the 1990s, the first powered passenger cars were the Chevrolet Corvair Monza and the Oldsmobile Jetfire. When the turbocharger was equipped in a mass-market automobile in the same year, turbo technology quickly disappeared in the market due to the high price, impracticality, and complexity of the turbo.
Since then, turbo technology had undergone reinventions and improvement until it became prevalent in the 1970s when turbochargers were introduced into motorsports and Formula One cars.
Today, car manufacturers offer vehicles equipped with the turbo engine as sports and luxury car owners demand a technology that will boost their engine’s performance. Additionally, turbo technology has specific improvements that are no longer only for performance cars; even sedans are now equipped with a turbocharged engine.
A turbo works through forced induction the same way that a supercharger function. Forced induction forces more air into the engine, allowing it to run more efficiently and make more power. People quickly get confused when it comes to automobile parts and may sometimes regard them as the same. However, their main difference lies with how each is powered.
Turbochargers are powered by the mass-flow of exhaust gasses driving a turbine while superchargers are powered mechanically by belt-or-chain drive from the engine’s crankshaft.
It is essential to know their difference to determine which one is better for a vehicle.
To learn more about the difference between turbocharger and supercharger, click this infographic from Pure Diesel Power.