Nerd’s Eye View: LA Auto Show 2015 – The Engines, Electrons, and Extra Bits

Nerd’s Eye View: LA Auto Show 2015 – The Engines, Electrons, and Extra Bits

by Khiem Dinh

About all those batteries, the battery in my camera ran out of juice, so I had to resort to crappy HTC One cell phone pics. You will be able to tell…. Anyway, in our tour of the BMW booth, we showed you the BMW plug-in hybrid. As the stats for that car show, it is no slow hybrid by any means. Porsche has one of the fastest hybrids around in the 918 and you can bet you’ll see hybrid 911s in the future. They are also planning on launching their full EV sedan within a few years. Of course, Audi and Mercedes can’t be seen lagging behind. Audi has shown a number of e-tron concepts in the past and had a production-ready A3 e-tron on display this year.

 

The charging port for the A3 e-tron is hidden behind the four rings. The mechanism to slide the four rings over to the side to expose the port was surprising flimsy; very un-German. I could see it breaking rather easily.
Turbocharged gasoline engines paired with hybrid powertrains, this is the current trend going forward for reaching those mileage numbers while still having decent acceleration. It’s good enough for the Porsche 24 Hours of Le Mans winning prototype and the McLaren P1 after all. With the electrification of everything, get used to seeing those bright orange wires signifying very high voltage. Anyways, you can still see the old school engine related bits such as the intake snorkel grabbing cold air from the front of the car and leading to an air box under the plastic cover.
Electronics need cooling too. I’m guessing this is a heat exchanger for the power electronics like the electric motor inverter and maybe the motor itself. Notice the hard lines going into the heat exchanger on the front; this tells me the system uses a 2-phase cooling fluid. So it’s basically like the A/C system in the car using refrigerant.
Here is the turbocharger on the back side of the engine up against the firewall. Of course, there is heat shielding on top of the turbine housing, around the exhaust manifold, and along the firewall.

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