In my not-too-consistent series of “pre-stolen ideas”, here’s another from the automotive front: the electric supercharger, as part of EcoMotors’ new engine design.
Based on my unused mechanical engineering degree, AFAIK, some of the drawbacks of a supercharger are the additional engine friction it provides, and the fact that the boost provided is directly related to engine speed. Since you only really need the additional boost some of the time, my thought was - why not control boost with a near-zero lag electric motor whose output is completely independent from that of the main engine? Which is of course what EcoMotors is now doing.
Volkswagen is using a twincharger design in their latest creation – a 1.4 liter engine that produces as much power as V6 engines twice the size did a decade or so ago. EcoMotors seem to have done VW one better, enough for Bill Gates to invest in the company.