World’s first two-speed supercharger drive system enters series production
Antonov releases technical information and additional pictures
First deliveries target high performance US tuner market
Low cost device ideally suited to high volume car production
Meets the need for engine downsizing which can deliver less CO2 emissions
The world’s first two-speed supercharger drive system to enter series production has been demonstrated this week to analysts, journalists and shareholders by Antonov; a pure research and development company, which licenses its automotive technology to vehicle and component manufacturers.
Antonov has appointed Wheel to Wheel Powertrain Inc. as its US distributor and Neue ZWL Zahnradwerk Leipzig GmbH as its manufacturing partner to produce the first production units destined for the US tuner market.
"Antonov has invested over many years in developing a strong and broad intellectual property portfolio," commented John Moore chief executive Antonov Automotive Technologies. "Since January 2005, Antonov’s strategy has been based on a clear understanding of how to get past the substantial entry barriers of the automotive industry. The two-speed supercharger drive fully demonstrates the potential for the Antonov Mechanical Module and a range of further applications is now being pursued."
This first ever commercial application of Antonov technology derives from the company’s original concept for a compact, lightweight and low cost automatic transmission. A small two-speed version of the gearbox applied to a supercharger is not only novel but also highly relevant to the trend to downsize engines by carmakers needing to reduce CO2 emissions. This downsizing trend creates the potential for high volume production of superchargers, which meet the technical need for forced induction as well as market expectations that driveability and performance will not be compromised by smaller engines.
While the high volume potential for the device lies in its ability to enable engine downsizing on a large commercial scale, a supercharger with variable drive can also boost the performance of high performance vehicles. Hence the initial release of the device into the buoyant US tuner market, which exposes the first production units to a high performance environment and track racing conditions.
This strategy of selling to the world’s largest market for tuner products is important to Antonov while in discussion with vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers interested in high volume applications. It demonstrates the product is robust, fully developed and readily available technology. Several unnamed carmakers already have the device under evaluation. The Antonov drive system can also be applied to the engine crankshaft front end pulley and truck engine oil pump; additional applications now under evaluation.
Weighing 3.9kg the supercharger drive system is not only lightweight but efficiently designed with a length of 149mm (5.9 inches) and diameter of 170mm (6.7 inches). At engine speeds below 4,200rpm the device provides a gear ratio of 1.36-to-1. Above this speed the drive is direct. The mechanism is entirely self-changing with no electronic, hydraulic or pneumatic control systems and the shift point, which can be set to any desired engine speed, is highly consistent. The drive can be retro-fitted to Rotrex C15, C30 and C38 superchargers.
Demonstrated in a Ford Mustang GT, the Antonov two-speed supercharger drive system increases power at the rear wheels by 58bhp and delivers 55lb.ft additional torque at engine speeds up to 4,200rpm. The 0-60mph time is reduced to 5 seconds compared with 5.2 seconds in the standard GT; while the standing quarter mile is reduced to 12.9 seconds (versus 13.9 seconds) and the quarter mile terminal speed increased to 112mph (versus 101mph).
Following its demonstration to European stakeholders and observers, the Mustang will be shipped to North America to feature in the Hot Rod Power Tour, presented by GM’s performance division.
The two speed variable drive was also demonstrated at the Zandvoort race circuit in a Chevrolet Lacetti as a representative example of its potential application to the mainstream car market.
The Antonov Mechanical Module two speed drive system enables a centrifugal pump supercharger to be better matched to the engine. By driving the supercharger faster at low engine speeds, higher boost pressure can be obtained to provide additional low speed engine torque. As engine speed rises the unit automatically changes up to enable the supercharger to continue to operate effectively at higher engine speeds. The ability of the mechanism to operate as a passive device without the need for additional external control or hydraulics offers low cost, high efficiency and simplicity of application.
Essentially a small automatic gearbox, the compact Antonov drive system effectively extends the engine torque curve delivered by a centrifugal pump supercharger. This type of supercharger is in itself more compact, less complex and less expensive than a positive displacement supercharger, but in comparison cannot offer the same torque output at low engine revs. The addition of an Antonov drive system, however, boosts the engine torque available to exceed even the performance of a positive displacement blower. In addition, the torque curve can be tuned so that a smaller displacement engine matches exactly the performance of a much larger naturally aspirated unit.
Antonov anticipates demand for the drive system will come from carmakers needing to downsize engines in pursuit of better fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. The trouble with smaller displacement engines is the loss of low end torque; hence the need to compensate through forced induction to restore the driveability of the vehicle and its engine performance characteristics. Many industry pundits consider the trend to smaller engines unavoidable in pursuit of improved powertrain efficiency and the ultimate market potential therefore could be as high as 100 million engines annually reflecting global vehicle production forecasts over the next 10 to 20 years.
A pure research and development company, Antonov expects to license the technology to high volume clients either directly or through their Tier 1 suppliers. Antonov can manage the initial manufacture and supply of up to 10,000 units annually through its production supply partner Neue ZWL Zahnradwerk. However the plan is for much lower preliminary sales growing to around 4,000 units over the next three years. Located near Leipzig, Neue ZWL, has a history of 100 years in the manufacture of transmissions and gearbox components.