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Electric motors

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There has been a flurry of activity recently in motor racing associated with the use of electric power, either in the form of a hybrid system or as 'pure electric' motorsport. Motorcycle racing has been in the forefront of this movement. For those wanting to develop electric or hybrid vehicle technology, motorcycles offer a cheap route to doing so; they also encourage well-packaged, low-mass engineering solutions to any problems. A particular area of motorsport that offers huge scope...

Battery KERS

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When (or if) we watch a Formula One race on television this year, the commentators will probably talk about the KERS system, and how (or if) it is being used. The KERS units have yet to attain the same impressive level of reliability of the highly stressed internal combustion engines used alongside them. This is hardly surprising; we understand combustion engines pretty well after having developed them for more than 130 years, and modern race engines, in series where regulations are...

Electric motors

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As we move ever further along the road of increasing the efficiency of race engines and drivetrains, we will see energy recovery play a more important part. Turbo-compounding, where energy is recovered from the exhaust flow, remains strictly for commercial vehicles for the time being. However, regenerative braking is very much a current technology, both for roadcars and in racing. With Williams, Flybrid and Zytek active in sportscar racing, and the Formula One engine manufacturers running...

Mechanical KERS

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In the recent Alternative Energy Focus article in Race Engine Technology magazine (issue 53, March/April 2011), the subject of KERS and its different strategies were discussed. The car manufacturers - thus far at least - have opted to use a purely electrical system. A large combined motor/generator converts kinetic energy recovered under braking into chemical energy stored in a battery, and then the stored energy is re-used at will once the vehicle is no longer traction limited. The...

Alternative energy: flywheel batteries

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The subject of 'alternative energy' is soon to be covered in the pages of RET magazine (issue 53), and will cover various technologies aimed at making motor racing more environmentally friendly. One very topical subject is that of the various hybrid technologies that seek to make our race vehicles more efficient by storing and re-using the kinetic energy normally converted to heat under braking. This is being very actively developed by roadcar manufacturers - for example in the...