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Motors – the Le Mans regulations

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Formula One appears to be leading the way with some very daring regulations in 2014, with exhaust turbine-driven motor/generators giving a significant boost to the performance of cars whose ‘bare’ internal combustion engine is much less powerful than its predecessor. The ‘pain’ being suffered by some of the engine manufacturers is not necessarily due to the added complexity of the turbo motor/generators (known as an MGUH), but also by problems with their engines and...


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The world of motoring and motorsport is changing. How quickly we move towards a world dominated by all-electric passenger vehicles is uncertain, although it’s unlikely that we will decide that hybrids and electric propulsion were a big mistake and that it’s OK to continue either burning fossil fuels or growing crops to provide all our liquid fuel. There is an increasing number of electric roadcars available (in Europe at least), some of which are very agreeable, with nice...

Fuel cells

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The phrase ‘quiet revolution’ is often used to describe significant but gradual change that is accepted without fuss. The advent of electric transport and motorsport feels like this, but the on-track result will also be quiet, and concerns about the lack of noise has given rise to synthetic noise generators for electric road vehicles to mimic the sound of various types of engines. Batteries made from lithium-ion fuel cells are the most popular way to store the energy on electric...

A comparison of KERS Formula One installations

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The Formula One powertrain regulations have allowed the use of hybrid systems since 2009 (although in 2010 the teams chose not to use them). These systems were not considered when the engines to which they would be attached were conceived, however; the engines had been basically the same since 2006, and the adaptations to them in order to fit the KERS motors were very varied. Both Mercedes and Renault powertrains have been photographed numerous times (the photos can be found easily on the...

When will we see a series hybrid racing?

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While Formula One and endurance racing sanctioned by the ACO (which organises the Le Mans 24 Hours) have shown leadership in recent years by encouraging or mandating the use of hybrid systems in racing, these have all been parallel hybrids – that is, engines that drive the wheels and whose output can be augmented by electrical or mechanical means. However, we have yet to see what might be ultimate expression of the hybrid system – a series hybrid. This type of hybrid still uses...