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Electric motors

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Energy recovery, based on the capture, storage and re-use of braking energy is not new in motorsport, and several series had pioneered the technology before Formula One embraced it and called it KERS - and then let go fairly quickly before embracing it again for 2011! Whatever the method of storage and redeployment of energy though, the aims are the same: either more power and a quicker lap time, or the same lap time with greater fuel conversion efficiency. Greater efficiency is in keeping...

Le Mans Prototype flywheel hybrid

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There have been a number of articles in the press on the benefits of a flywheel-based hybrid system for motor racing - indeed, Porsche has been racing a flywheel hybrid system in selected GT races. This is based on the same technology that Williams had begun to develop for its Formula One car for the 2009 season, but which didn't race. In this system, the flywheel and alternator are combined, so the system is a mix of the benefits of flywheel energy storage and the well-known technology...

Porsche hybrid

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During 2010, Porsche achieved another significant first when it won an important motor race using a hybrid vehicle that stored its energy mechanically. When Formula One embraced KERS technology in 2009, the teams which raced these systems did so successfully using chemical storage of energy in the form of batteries. Williams had developed, but didn't race, its flywheel/electric system. Flybrid's pure mechanical system promises excellent efficiency, low mass and good durability, but...

Sportscar development

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The previous article on the subject of KERS was a retrospective look at the hybrid system in the Panoz Q9. In seeking to bring the emerging technology of regenerative braking to racing, Don Panoz was years ahead of the game. There are now very few large car-makers who don't have a serious hybrid development programme, and a growing number of them feel the technology is mature enough to release series production models - notably Honda with the Insight and the Civic Hybrid, and Toyota...

A reminder of the first Le Mans KERS effort

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There has been much time, effort and money expended in bringing kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) to Formula One. The much-heralded introduction saw many of the teams developing a system at great expense and not choosing to race it, or those racing with KERS not really seeing a huge benefit. At the end of the 2009 race season, the media seemed to be of the opinion that the team that had achieved most from KERS, having used the most successful system, was McLaren. Its KERS system was...