Next-gen Mazda BT-50 could become twin-turbo, electrically supercharged diesel powerhouse

New patent is a heavy hint that Mazda wants to stuff three compressors into the BT-50’s engine bay

BT 50 tripleturbopatent rearside

HOLD on to your hardhats, because Mazda looks set to jam not one, not two, but three compressors under the lid of its workhorse ute.

A patent lodged by Mazda has potentially let slip the automaker’s intentions for its next-generation BT-50, revealing a sophisticated twin-turbo, electrically-supercharged engine is in the Japanese brand’s future powertrain pipeline.

The patent, lodged with the US Patent and Trademark Office, doesn’t explicitly name the BT-50 but describes the engine in surprising detail.

While many technology patents are deliberately vague, this one not only specifies that the engine is a diesel-fuelled four cylinder and equipped with two turbos and an electric supercharger, but that it’s mounted longitudinally as well.

And there’s only one diesel-engined non-truck in Mazda’s product portfolio that mounts its engine in a north-south orientation – the BT-50. Given the specifics mentioned, it’s highly unlikely that this engine is destined for anything else.  

Twin-turbo diesel utes certainly aren’t a new thing in the light commercial space, with the Volkswagen Amarok and Nissan Navara already sporting inline-four turbo diesels with two huffers bolted to the side.

However Mazda’s strategy of adding an electrically-driven supercharger to the mix goes a step further in improving diesel driveability.

The patent details that the electric supercharger serves to generate boost when the first and second turbochargers – which rely on exhaust gas flow to spool up – aren’t spinning fast enough, such as when driving at low rpm.

It’s a similar ‘torque fill’ strategy as employed by the Audi SQ7’s diesel V8, which also teams an electric supercharger with a pair of conventional turbos.

At higher rpm a set of bypass valves take the electric supercharger out of play, with the twin turbos providing full boost. A liquid-to-air intercooler then chills the charge before it’s combusted by the engine, with exhaust gas then flowing through both turbochargers and a sizable diesel particulate filter.

When we’ll see it in a Mazda vehicle remains to be seen. The next-generation BT-50 is due to supersede the current model in 2019, and will no longer share its ladder-framed bones with the Ford Ranger and instead move to the new Isuzu D-Max’s platform. Whether this clever triple-compressor diesel will arrive at the same time has yet to be confirmed.


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