Electric Superchargers

By Deane Barker on November 10, 2008

Electric Superchargers: This is an interesting concept. Traditional superchargers run off the crankshaft, which obviously takes a fair amount of surgery. This, however, is kind of a…hairdryer.

Be aware that this company is actually selling plans and instructions to build your own, rather than selling the actual device.

The Jet Stream Electric Supercharger takes absolutely no mechanical skill to build and install and will immediately be capable of delivering a 5-30% boost in horsepower throughout the entire RPM band GUARANTEED! The heart of our electric supercharger is powered by a 12 volt lightweight motor that can push the electric supercharger fan to an impressive 24,500 rpm’s in less than one second. This produces immediate boost with no hesitation or turbo lag.

Curious to see how well they actually work. It sounds simplistic, but I can’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t work.



  1. It would probably work, sure.

    Upside: more reliable boost, simpler to install

    Downside: involves more power-wasting energy conversions (angular momentum => electricity => angular momentum)

    I don’t know enough about how superchargers work to speculate further though.

  2. They don’t work because those fans spin at 24,500 RPM with no backpressure. In order to compress air to 1psi over ambient at 750cfm, you need about 1800 watts of power, or 150 amps @ 12V. To compress air to 12psi over ambient at 750cfm, you need about 22,500 watts of power, or about 1800 amps @ 12v. And that’s assuming your fans are made of sturdy stuff capable of compressing air rather than just moving it.

    There’s no theoretical reason an electric supercharger can’t work — but there’s a good reason it can’t be more efficient than a mechanical one. Mechanical superchargers are driven by the crank turning a helix-shaped gear which compresses the air; electrical ones are driven by the crank turning a belt, which turns an alternator, which generates electricity, which turns a fan, which pumps the air. There’s no way that can be more efficient.

  3. Yeah except that the alternator is there no matter if you have a supercharger or not, its just taking the power that is already being generated. A supercharger is using up energy in addition to that of the alternator. The alternator doesn’t start getting stiffer when you use more of the power it generates, it’s a constant variable.

  4. Not true. As the demand for amperage increases the magnetical current in the altenator will increase. Thus producing more parasitic loss or “friction”.

  5. The alternator absolutely does get stiffer when you draw more power from it. Most alternators can only generate <100 amps and all of them operate at less than 50% efficiency. They steal twice as much angular velocity as they generate in electricity.

  6. So technically an electric supercharger will do what it’s supposed to, but not to the capacity that would be required to actually give the vehicle a significant power change?

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