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Power electronics – packaging considerations

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Looking to the future, there is a strong trend emerging in the regulations of some of the major race series to incorporate new technology to make racing power units more efficient. The internal combustion engine is inherently inefficient, and although race engines are generally more efficient than their road-going counterparts – lower friction and higher average throttle openings being two good reasons here – they still throw a lot of energy away in the form of heat. We have heat...


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On the face of it, hydrogen is an ideal fuel for an internal combustion engine. The combustion products contain no carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide – indeed the product of complete combustion should be water. It is alternatively presented as a panacea for road transportation by those who point to emissions, and as being a non-starter by those who point out that the production of hydrogen takes much more energy than can be liberated by its combustion, and the difficulties in producing...

Formula One battery design

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The introduction of hybrid systems to motorsport has been somewhat laboured, especially since there have been some successful roadcars that have used the technology for more than a decade now. Although the introduction of hybrid technology in Formula One had been considered seriously since about 2005, it wasn’t raced until 2009. Dubbed KERS (kinetic energy recovery system), it was scrapped for 2010, but has been a permanent feature since. In 2014, hybrid technologies will be a key part...

Radial and axial flux motors

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In a recent issue of Race Engine Technology magazine, there was an article on the propulsion motor being used for the Drayson Racing electric car project. It is short in length and low in mass, and if you have read the article and seen the pictures of this ‘yokeless and segmented armature’ machine you will have noted that the motor, while axially compact, is not so compact radially. The motor’s architecture is a variation on what is known as an axial flux, or axial gap,...

The ‘electric flywheel’

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It seems that there is no middle ground as far as hybrid systems are concerned. They are applied to some of the world’s most mundane passenger cars, where the drivers are so careful in their driving habits that they are unlikely to reap maximum benefit, and they are a must-have in some of the more exotic race cars. Formula One, Le Mans, ALMS, LMES, WEC and JGTC have all taken advantage of the benefits of hybrid technology. In terms of the exact technologies applied to racing hybrid...