Turbocharger Vs. Supercharger: What’s the Difference?

Sports and luxury car owners demand a technology that will boost their engine’s performance. As a result, automakers now equip new cars and truck with turbocharged engines. Also, turbo technology has specific improvements that are no longer only for performance cars; even sedans are now equipped with a turbocharged engine.

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The turbo has been around for a long time ever since Alfred Büchi, a Swiss mechanical engineer, made the first patent for a turbocharged engine back in the 1990s. 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.

The Chevrolet Corvair Monza and Oldsmobile Jetfire were the first powered passenger cars in the 1990s. When the turbocharger was equipped in 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.

However, after reinventions and improvement, turbo technology became very popular back in the 1970s with the entry of turbochargers into motorsports and Formula One cars. Today, car manufacturers offer vehicles equipped with the turbo engine.

A turbocharger compresses the air flowing into the engine, which will provide more power for the car. Aside from turbos, a device called supercharger functions the same way. Turbochargers and superchargers are both forced induction systems their difference, however, is how each of them is powered.

While turbocharger uses exhaust stream for its energy, the source of power for superchargers is in a belt connected directly to the engine. A car owner needs to know how they differ to decide what is better for his or her vehicle.

Click this infographic from Pure Diesel Power to learn more about the difference between a turbocharger and supercharger.