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    • ESS-Tuning copied VF-Engineering's Audi R8 & Lamborghini Gallardo/Huracan V10 5.2 supercharger kit design

      That is a strong headline, isn't it? You could replace 'copied' with several other words including reproduced, forged, replicated, imitated, or counterfeited and the premise for the article would be the same. VF-Engineering's development work on the V10 was blatantly stolen by ESS-Tuning.


      BoostAddict is so confident in this report there is no reason to use terms such as 'allegedly' or 'possibly' in the article. Read it and see what you think.

      You will notice there are two options for supercharging the 5.2 liter V10 motors that you find under the hood of the Audi R8, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Lamborghini Huracan. Back in the early days Stasis was the only option.

      You may know that Stasis is now gone but what you may not know is that it was VF-Engineering that developed the Stasis supercharger kit. Originally, the idea was for VF-Engineering to provide their design and Stasis would sell the supercharger upgrade package directly at Audi dealerships and it would be covered with a factory backed warranty.

      This was the Stasis booth back in 2010 at SEMA:


      Well, that did not work out as planned and Stasis went under but VF-Engineering started to sell the V10 supercharger kit under their own name through their dealer network. All was good until suddenly ESS-Tuning started selling a kit. The same basic kit.

      What happened? Well, ESS-Tuning got a hold of a VF-Engineering customer that had the kit installed. This was of course in Arizona and an Arizona customer. VF-Engineering has confirmation from this customer that ESS-Tuning got a hold of his car.

      You might be saying, well, if VF-Engineering has proof why don't they go the legal route? They did. Eventually after a year VF decided that the matter was no longer worth pursuing due to the costs involved and what the actual compensation would end up being. ESS-Tuning knew this. The litigation and costs would not be worth the trouble but everything submitted to the lawyer still exists along with the proof.

      ESS-Tuning launched their kit late last year with a 2.9 liter Whipple twin screw at a $24,995 price point which undercut VF-Engineering's Eaton TVS2300 kit at $33k. Now you know how they could offer such a cheaper price. They didn't have to invest the time or money in the development.

      Are you thinking that if ESS-Tuning is using a Whipple blower it means they have a different kit? What you do not know is ESS-Tuning originally attempted to use the same Eaton TVS2300 blower even for other kits back in 2014. There may have been a business disagreement between Magnuson and ESS-Tuning that forced the switch.

      Let's get into the design details.

      Since VF-Engineering began development seven years ago they refined their kit as they learned about the platform. The computer designs to physical pieces evolved. Take a look at these design elements:

      Pancake Pipe

      Developed to provide optimal flow for fluid transfer and the necessary clearance between the engine block and VF Engineering pulley bracket.

      Cad Drawing - to 3D Prototype - to Metal Production


      Just arriving at the same pipe design randomly when starting from scratch is not possible. It goes behind the bracket. If the bracket design was different then this pipe design would be different.

      Idler Pulley Assembly


      Now how do you route the belts and design this assembly? Two engineers working on two different kits are going to have different approaches. Just look at how ESS and VF approached their E9X M3 S65 V8 kits.

      ESS did not even make any actual attempt to differentiate the design with the Audi/Lambo V10 kit. It is the exact same and uses the exact same placement of the pulleys and tensioners.

      This is the idler pulley assembly from the ESS-Tuning installation manual (attached at the bottom of the article):


      Does it look like a copy to you?

      What about the lid? Here is an image from the ESS V10 SC youtube video:


      Here is the VF cad design:


      Notice any similarities? Maybe these elements?


      What about this from page 14 in the ESS-Tuning installation manual. The arrow is pointing to an AC compressor fitting. This is VF-Engineering's actual piece as it has the engraving from being pressure tested and says the date on it. This pressure testing is part of the VF quality control process. They are actually using a photo of VF's actual piece in their own ESS install manual. You can't make this up:


      For further evidence, here is the kit at the ESS facility when ESS was attempting to reproduce it with a Whipple blower in place taken by someone who happened to be at the facility. This was in March 2014:


      Even if you do not think it is a direct copy or even if you do not care if it is a direct copy there are a few things to keep in mind about these kits.

      PRICING:

      Gen1 R8 / Gallardo VF $22,995 and ESS $18,995.

      Gen2 R8 / Huracan VF $32,995 and ESS $24,995.

      Mull over these reasons:

      1. The Eaton TVS2300 is the perfect supercharger for the stock internal 5.2 V10.

      Unless you are building the motor and running huge boost the Eaton pairs better at the 7-8 psi level with the V10 than the larger Whipple unit. It is simply more efficient at that boost level than the twin screw. Take a look at the compressor maps for proof. You would have to go to 13+ psi with the Whipple to start seeing efficiency gains.

      The Eaton TVS2300 is used in OEM applications and its build quality and longevity is proven. If Audi was to supercharge this motor, they would use the Eaton TVS2300. Furthermore, AUDI NA was willing to install and sell these superchargers with a supplemental warranty.

      2. Quality of materials

      VF isn't skimping on the quality of materials to cut costs. The quality remains the same despite ESS undercutting them. The brackets are laser cut, the OEM hose clamps are used (no cheap worm screws or rubber lines), uniquely designed AC lines, water lines, air lines, etc.

      There was no competition target during the development. Everything was designed by VF-Engineering to be the highest quality and everything comes from the United States. If you want to get more specific, everything is designed and manufactured (short of the blower itself obviously) in California.

      3. Software

      When you develop the product over years you continually refine the software. ESS-Tuning had some issues with some cars which we will not get into but VF's software development is obviously far more mature. How can it not be? They started the market years before ESS read out one of their cars.

      This isn't just pulled out of thin air. Even dealers see it:

      I am very loyal and do not want to get involved with ESS. We had a local car which was done by an Audi dealer the the kit is garbage. Never ran right and the tuning was never right either.
      Where are we at now? Well, ESS-Tuning is dropping prices on their kits to levels that VF simply can not match. It is simply a scorched earth policy. If they can't have any profit well then nobody will have any profit. Time after time somebody says ESS-Tuning is offering a lower price and they are simply undercutting VF with reckless abandon.

      Why? Because that is who ESS-Tuning is. This is nothing new. I watched ESS-Tuning since the early days when they first came onto the BMW scene. They were nobodies with an inconsistent product that they knew was not ready for primetime yet they still sold it.

      They do not care. They copied the product, cut costs, skimped on quality, paired the wrong size supercharger to the motor, and they will not offer the same quality of software or support. The real question is, does this matter to a potential customer?

      The sad truth is most people just don't care. If they can save a buck, they will save a buck. Who cares if ESS-Tuning will throw you overboard if things go wrong. Things can get very messy in a hurry.

      If you spent hundreds of thousands and years of your time on development of a product and someone copied it and undercut you, how would you feel? Especially if you were proud of that product and your engineering solutions in bringing it to market?


      Now, losing a customer on a major purchase like this would certainly make someone furious. VF-Engineering's response is not angry but professional:


      VF-Engineering is moving on from this debacle and their culture is one of informing people of what happened, why their supercharger kit is worth the money, and creating great products rather than stealing them. ESS-Tuning's culture is profit above all else and that includes morals.

      Which product would you rather have?

      Install manual

      This article was originally published in forum thread: ESS-Tuning copied VF-Engineering's Audi R8 & Lamborghini Gallardo/Huracan V10 5.2 supercharger kit design started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 6 Comments
      1. subaru335i's Avatar
        subaru335i -
        That is pretty $#@!ty of ESS but like VF said at the end, good luck trying to use a ripoff product and that customer will likely be back in due time and will have wasted time and money.
        Im surprised and not surprised at the same time that people will go so far out on a limb to save a buck at this level of purchase. Modifying $200k cars with $20k-$30k mods is not something to cheap out on lol, if they wanted to cheap out they should just modify a domestic LSx car in the first place lol.

        Even with small amazon purchases I have learned time and again that you get what you pay for.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by subaru335i Click here to enlarge
        That is pretty $#@!ty of ESS but like VF said at the end
        It's beyond $#@!ty. It's theft.
      1. subaru335i's Avatar
        subaru335i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        It's beyond $#@!ty. It's theft.
        I totally agree but in this day and age it is almost expected (not that that makes it right by any stretch).
        The whole bottom dollar china knockoff/no respect for R&D IP is terrible but hopefully people learn the hard way. ESPECIALLY with such an expensive complicated product like this.
        Unfortunately probably the most engineering time went into the CFD for designing those charge pipes etc which was basically just laser scanned by ess and copied and will probably work just as well as the VF. But good thing the kit is a whole system and is more complicated than that and it appears that it is not as easy as ripping off the hardware to make it function like OEM (like VF seems to have done).
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by subaru335i Click here to enlarge
        I totally agree but in this day and age it is almost expected (not that that makes it right by any stretch).
        The whole bottom dollar china knockoff/no respect for R&D IP is terrible but hopefully people learn the hard way. ESPECIALLY with such an expensive complicated product like this.
        Unfortunately probably the most engineering time went into the CFD for designing those charge pipes etc which was basically just laser scanned by ess and copied and will probably work just as well as the VF. But good thing the kit is a whole system and is more complicated than that and it appears that it is not as easy as ripping off the hardware to make it function like OEM (like VF seems to have done).
        A lot gets copies and sent to China for cheap knock offs but this is a bit different. This copied an entire supercharger kit.

        This takes years to develop. Software, hardware, testing, everything.

        It sucks but it just ultimately shows who ESS is.
      1. Tony@VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        Tony@VargasTurboTech -
        LOL, the entire N54 platform is everyone ripping off everyone else, no one gives a $#@! because everyone is cheap. This is somehow news because it goes on high dollar cars? Theft is theft whether its a $200 charge pipe, set of inlets, downpipe design, or a supercharger kit. Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Tony@VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
        LOL, the entire N54 platform is everyone ripping off everyone else, no one gives a $#@! because everyone is cheap. This is somehow news because it goes on high dollar cars? Theft is theft whether its a $200 charge pipe, set of inlets, downpipe design, or a supercharger kit. Click here to enlarge
        Knockoffs and copies are indeed a problem on every platform. However, there is a bit more to it here.

        There is software that accompanies the hardware. Additionally, you might feel differently if you invested hundreds of thousands in development.

        The point is to get the truth out there and highlight the differences.