October 27, 2006 European automotive technology company, Antonov, will be showing its innovative 2-speed supercharger drive system at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show next week in Las Vegas with two mouth-watering implementations. A Hummer H3 (that's a stock H3 pictured) incorporating the patented technology will be presented at the show by Antonov’s US distributor Wheel to Wheel Powertrain and the system’s performance enhancing characteristics will be demonstrated at the show proving grounds in a Ford Mustang GT.
“We have yet to put the Hummer on our chassis dynamometer, but given our experience with the Mustang, we anticipate the 2-speed supercharger drive system will similarly give a massive boost to power and torque up to the mid range engine speed,” says Brad Shantry, Wheel to Wheel performance product development manager.
“The enhanced engine performance and increased power and torque will be particularly useful on a medium size 4-wheel drive sport utility vehicle. I think the system would also benefit other SUVs, because of their often less than favourable power to weight ratios. Also the ability of the Antonov shift mechanism to operate as a self-contained passive device, without the need for additional external controls, offers the benefit of high mechanical efficiency.”
The performance enhancing characteristics of Antonov’s 2-speed drive system will be dramatically verified at the show’s proving grounds through its AR500 Ford Mustang GT demonstrator on the afternoon of Thursday 2 November. Road test editors and automotive journalists are being invited to take a ride with SCCA national road racing licence holder Gautam Pathak, who will put the high performance rear wheel drive car through its paces. Pathak has extensive driving experience gained at numerous test tracks all over the world and developed his skills as a vehicle dynamics engineer with Ford and Visteon. He is currently director of product development with the exhaust specialist company Corsa, whose equipment is also featured on the car,
“The Antonov Mustang is a must see for power enthusiasts because it is the first example of this interesting new performance technology,” said Pathak. “It reduces the elapsed time and the extra acceleration increases the standing quarter mile terminal speed from 101mph to 112mph.”
In the Mustang, Wheel to Wheel Powertrain has neatly installed the 2-speed drive and the Rotrex supercharger beneath the intake manifold, so that the system nestles neatly into the valley of the V8 engine. Wheel to Wheel also custom fabricated the cold air induction system, which features an aluminium intake manifold with five internally mounted liquid-to-air intercoolers. In the Hummer, the 2-speed supercharger drive system has been installed to share the power steering bracket of the I5 engine.
“In the Mustang, Antonov’s planetary gearset automatically engages a 1.36-to-1 step-up ratio in the first half of the engine rev band during hard acceleration,” said Shantry. “The higher speed of the supercharger impellor increases power and torque to the rear wheels by an impressive 58 per cent at engine speeds up to 4,200rpm. We have the same step-up ratio in the Hummer and anticipate a similar percentage increase in performance.”
Antonov chief executive John Moore commented: “The performance boost in the Mustang at low engine revs is significant and the way it’s been calibrated for this high performance application is appropriate and easily felt by the driver. The Antonov drive system literally does feel like another gearbox. It just happens to be located where you least expect it; as part of the front end engine breathing system. We are confident of a similar performance boost for the Hummer.”
The series production of a 2-speed Antonov drive aimed at the US tuner market is already proving the capability of the system as a compact and effective solution for a number of powertrain applications.
“The experience we’re gaining from these high performance installations is proving invaluable,” said Moore. “It’s a tough market and our drive system needs to be pretty robust to survive. For the US tuner market the 2-speed supercharger drive simply does a phenomenal job of boosting vehicle performance … but there are additional mainstream powertrain applications we’re actively pursuing, where the primary aim is to calibrate the system to enhance efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.”
Antonov is already investigating the potential for its compact 2-speed supercharger drive system to replace a much larger positive displacement compressor in a high volume production engine, where very tight packaging and close matching of the supercharger to the engine is the primary motive. Further applications to improve powertrain efficiency are also being investigated through research into front end accessory drives. This enables the vehicle alternator and air conditioning to be run more efficiently, whilst providing the output needed by modern cars when the engine is idling.
The mainstream automotive trend towards fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles, as well as smaller displacement internal combustion engines, similarly implies a need for more forced induction systems and hence centrifugal superchargers … again another opportunity to better match the characteristics of the blower to the engine with 2-speed drive systems. There is also growing interest in the use of 2-speed drives in conjunction with alternating current electric motors as a lower cost alternative to permanent magnet motors in electric vehicles.
The Antonov Mechanical Module (AMM) is patented technology and provides a small stand-alone, self-controlling multi-speed drive system which can be designed and manufactured for 2, 3 or even 4-speed applications. The mechanism is entirely self-changing with no electronic, hydraulic or pneumatic control systems and during the design stage the shift points can be set to any desired engine speed. The benefits of a fully automatic mechanical system applied to a supercharger include high transmission efficiency, compact size and moderate cost. The Antonov drive can be fully integrated with the latest Rotrex C30 and C38 superchargers with no power consumption other than minimal gear losses.
“These US applications are strategically important for the company as they address one of the world’s largest markets for tuner products,” said Moore. “It enables Antonov’s drive system to be released into the marketplace as a proven technology and underpins our discussions with carmakers interested in high volume global applications for addressing more fundamental carbon emission issues.”