Ok, we’ve all seen the Mad Max series of movies where Mel Gibson’s character has the ability to turn off the supercharger on his car with the flick of a switch. It was the movies, and when filming a major motion picture, anything is possible. But what if you really could turn your car’s supercharger on or off with the flick of a switch? What if the concept isn’t just viable on the big screen? We’re here to tell you, that those days are actually are here—kind of.
In our December 2012 issue, we gave you a first look into the installation of ProCharger’s new kit for the 6.4 Hemi-powered Challenger (and Charger), and now that the tuning for 2011 and newer Mopars is cracked, the kit is a great option. But what if there are more available options? We’re not simply talking about using a bigger supercharger—but that is one option, we’re talking about installing a supercharger that allows you to control amount of ratio-of-boost that the supercharger produces at a given time. Now, controlling the amount of boost is typically done by changing the drive pulley on the supercharger, thus increasing or decreasing the amount of pressure that is delivered to the engine. That’s all well and good, but what if you could vary the amount of pressure simply by moving a selector switch from inside the car while it’s running, while you sit in the driver’s seat? Pay attention guys, because it’s a reality. We wanted to follow up December’s install with some insight into this new technology, because frankly, it’s just that cool. Take for instance this scenario: You have a Pro Charged ride, and for some unknown reason, you decide to let your 16-year-old son take your car and his buddies for a ride. Now, since we all remember how we drove when we were 16, you decide that before Junior gets behind the wheel, you need to go out to the car, and limit the amount of boost that the car will receive. With this setting changed, no matter how hard Junior mashes the go-pedal, he’s limited. You really can do that with the flick of a switch.
02 The electric motor attached to the supercharger is what controls the “boost” ratio. By
03 When you get your i-1kit, you get the selector switch as the control for the i-1. If y
But how does this new technology actually work? We’ll make it as simple as possible before we get confusing and deep into details. The way it works is very close to the way that a snowmobile or go-cart clutch works. In the case of the ProCharger i-1, the actual driving of the impellor is done via what is akin to pulley-based CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). This system consists of two sheaves/pulleys, or “clutches,” connected by a drive belt. In the case of the i-1 ProCharger, the primary clutch/pulley is connected to a small electric motor. As the boost requirement increases, as selected by the in-cockpit controller, the primary clutch is adjusted to close the gap between the pulley’s two halves. This closing of the primary clutch relocates the hybrid drive-belt on the pulley outward, thereby increasing the drive ratio. What this means is that the supercharger’s actual ratio is achieved by the position of the CVT drive belt’s position on the two pulleys.
This new technology is not going to make the traditional supercharger obsolete, but there are serious advantages to the i-1 over traditional centrifugal superchargers. The main advantage is unarguably, the adjustability. With its three modes (four with the touch-screen upgrade) of adjustability (Touring, Sport, and Competition), you can have full boost on tap instantly, or lock the system into the lowest possible boost ratio for maximum fuel economy. The design of the i-1allows it to produce immediate response, even at low engine rpm, or power fall-off at higher engine rpm.
04 This image shows the i-1 delivering a low ratio of supercharging. The electric motor c
05 The i-1 is controlled by the management box. This box takes the signal from the either
06 This photo shows the new Hemi race-intercooler next to the current Stage 2 intercooler
Touring mode locks the supercharger’s transmission (pulley) in the lowest possible ratio. This means that full boost will not be achieved, no matter how hard the loud pedal is smashed to the floor. This mode is good for valet parking, while driving in snow and or rain, and/or giving Junior the keys. It provides the best fuel economy of all of the selectable modes. Sport mode, on the other hand, allows you to be a little sneaky. While in Sport mode, you retain the quiet operation of a standard centrifugal supercharger, but can reach maximum boost almost instantaneously. Competition mode is self-explanatory; it places maximum boost on tap at any given moment—instantly. Competition mode is noticeably more audible in regards to hearing the supercharger, and can be used for track time, or to just intimidate some kid in his Mustang or Third Gen Camaro at the nighttime hot spot.
So what does this all mean in regards to supercharging? According to ProCharger, “Building on the benefits of centrifugal design, the i-1 delivers higher compressor efficiency than screw blowers, utilizes the most effective intercooling, and avoids the heat transfer associated with engine-top mounting or an exhaust interface.”
Just like all ProCharger kits, air-to-air intercooling is standard, and as many experts agree, provides better cooling and reliability than air-to-water intercoolers when used for street use. We’re also told that due to these advantages, i-1 technology delivers the coolest charge of air, the most power with greatest repeatability, and best-in-class fuel economy. “Similar to P-1SC-1 and D-1SC supercharger systems, i-1 ProCharger systems produce more power per psi of boost than air-water-intercooled positive displacement supercharger systems. Continuing the ProCharger tradition, i-1 supercharger systems also feature a broader operating range than PD blowers, and greater upgradability. The i-1 is designed for both stock and modified applications, and supports up to 900 flywheel horsepower.”
09 So, what kind of testing did this new supercharger go through, while we were there, we
10 The baseline test of our 6.1 Hemi showed 370 RWHP. With the i-1, we landed an impressi
Designed and built in the USA, Procharger’s i-1features billet impellers and rugged cases. Proven in over four years of intensive R&D and rigorous performance testing, the i-1is available with ProCharger’s optional three-year warranty.