Application of a Continuously Variable Transmission to Engine Boosting and Exhaust Energy Recovery Systems

  • Adam Rose

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Governments across the world are implementing legislation for ever more strict limits for vehicle emissions; combined with customer expectations for growing levels of performance and equipment, automotive manufacturers face a significant challenge. With the aim of meeting this challenge, downsizing is an established trend in passenger car engine development. However, since downsizing is commonly achieved through pressure charging (turbocharging, for example), the associated benefits in improved fuel economy and emissions are often obtained at the expense of engine dynamic response, and, consequently, vehicle driveability. This thesis presents predominantly simulation-based research into a novel combined charging system comprising a conventional turbocharger used in conjunction with a declutchable supercharger driven through a CVT. An initial investigation using this system in place of a variable geometry turbocharger on an already downsized passenger car diesel engine demonstrated greatly increased low speed torque as well as improved dynamic response. A downsizing project that involved replacing a naturally aspirated gasoline engine with a highly boosted engine with 40% of the original displacement formed the basis for more extensive investigations. Although it was unable to produce the low speed transient response of the naturally aspirated engine, in tip-in tests the CVT-supercharger system was shown to achieve the target torque much quicker than an equivalent system with a fixed supercharger drive ratio. However, balancing this with good fuel efficiency for the initial part load period was a complex trade-off. In vehicle acceleration simulations the CVT-supercharger system did not outperform the fixed drive ratio configuration, but on the CVT system the boost limit was reached at an early stage during the transients. Thus there may be potential to include an ‘over-boost’ facility, allowing boost pressure to temporarily exceed normal steady state limits in order to improve transient performance and bring it closer to that of the baseline vehicle. It is suggested that the CVT-supercharger provides the best flexibility for calibration and compromise between performance and fuel efficiency, perhaps incorporating different user-selectable modes (such as ‘economy’ and ‘sport’ modes).
Date of Award14 Nov 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorSam Akehurst (Supervisor) & Chris Brace (Supervisor)


  • Internal combustion engines
  • Downsizing
  • Supercharging
  • Turbocharging
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • Simulation and Modeling

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