In the extremely crowded engine-bay of a hybrid powertrain, the compactness of the small Rotrex superchargers offers unique packaging advantages and installation flexibility. Furthermore, since the hybrid ICE runs in its ideal working condition regarding fuel consumption, a directly driven Rotrex supercharger using a constant ratio gives the highest level of efficiency.
As an example, the production Lotus Range Extender is an extremely compact, lightweight, low-cost engine and generator, designed specifically for hybrid electric vehicles. The initial concept engine was fitted to the Jaguar Limo Green research vehicle and this new version has been redesigned by Lotus Engineering and Fagor Ederlan to optimise performance and develop the engine for series production. The supercharged engine uses a belt driven centrifugal Rotrex supercharger to produce 50 kW peak electrical power at 3500 rpm.
Looking into the future of engine technology, the fuel cell driven vehicle will generate electricity from a simple electrochemical reaction in which oxygen and hydrogen combine to form water. There are several different types of fuel cell, however the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) and the Solid Oxide are the most common types seen within the automotive sector. With the system emitting only pure water as waste, a fuel cell powered vehicle is the ultimate zero-emissions concept.
Universal to all fuel cells is the need for an efficient air supply. Increasing the pressure of the supplied air brings the benefit of reductions in cost, lower weight, and higher power density to the fuel cell. The vacuum within the Rotrex drive housing also secures no oil contamination within the fuel cell. The low noise, and high operational efficiency, makes Rotrex the ideal choice for both vehicle and industrial installations.