back to article Formula One kinetic energy recovery rigs debut

Formula One Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) are becoming like London buses – nothing for weeks then two come along together. Almost simultaneously, Bosch and Magneti Marelli have announced they will be supplying “off-the-shelf” KERS for the 2009 F1 Grand Prix season. The Magneti Marelli system was initially shown to the …

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Fully combine the two storage options?

"Of more interest is the Bosch system – also unveiled at PMSW - which comes in a mix-and-match form with both battery and flywheel energy- storage options – the latter spinning in a vacuum at speeds of up to 160,000rpm."

Battery's weigh quite a bit, weight is precious on F1 cars. I wonder if they considered using the batteries as part of the fly wheel?

Also good job they decided to use a world beginning with W as the last one for their acronym rather than one beginning with L

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Coat

Not London buses

Surely London buses are more reliable to timetable than that?!

Now, out here in the Home Counties maybe ...

Mine's the spotter's anorak, not.

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Thumb Up

No brainer.

Magneti marelli = FIAT

Ferrari = FIAT

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Heart

F1 KERS

Just the name alone is a winner!

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

What are they for

I don't really understand car racing, it just looks like driving around in a circle to me, which I find quite frustrating when it happens to me ( in the Reading one-way system, often ) so how do these systems actually work to make the car more competetive?

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Anonymous Coward

wtf?

Would have been nice to have a few words about what this device is supposed to do!

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Anonymous Coward

They're for...

...storing the energy that needs to be taken out of the car's motion to slow it down for corners, rather than wastefully throwing it away as heat from the brakes. Sometimes applied as "regenerative braking" in vehicles such as milk floats (use the electric motor as a dynamo, and it puts drag in the drive train, while recharging the batteries ready for further forward motion). I think hybrid drive train cars like the Prius do this too.

It's not lossless, but it's more efficient than just warming up carbon brakepads to glowing. Interesting future applications to run of the mill roadgoing cars if F1 can find it useful.

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how does that work?

this system is supposed to accumulate kinetic energy during braking and then the driver can release the accumulated energy whenever he needs to. ok what I don't get is how it can be released if the energy is stored as electricity (in case of the battery option), while the f1 car engine runs on petrol??

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Pirate

Awesome...

Once this goes ahead, presumably it means that these F1 cars are hybrids?

And therefore exempt from the london congestion charge!

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Paris Hilton

Odd ...

... I was under the impression that F1 cars need to get their brakes exceptionally hot for them to perform at peak efficiency.

Paris Angle? I wonder if she can find anything that requires batteries to operate that's charged through rapid movement ...

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Go

Yes Please !

According to a F1 website : "the regulations limit the power of the KERS systems to 60kw (around 80 horsepower) and the storage capacity of the energy is 400kJ (kilojoules) per lap. What in effect this means is an extra 80 horsepower available for 6.7s per lap."

Give me the option of a button which provides an extra 80 bhp and I'll take it any day.

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Yes, this is perfect for Electric F1 cars

Since F1 cars aren't electric, uh, it makes no sense.

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Re: No brainer

And of course

Ferrari = FIAT = FIA

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and then what?

So they store energy which comes from decelerating the car. Surely they're going to do something with that energy - if anything, to discharge the storage. Is the car going to have an electric engine supplementing the traditional one?

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Go

KERS = Boots button

For those that done know the whole point of this is to store energy underbreaking then release it back to the diver when he pushes a button. Think nitro boot on an arcade game.

So far testing has shown a fully charged system to boost engine power by about 80HP for 6.5 second.

But the system comes in at almost 30KG and teams will be able to run with or without the system.

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ian
Bronze badge

wtf #2

So Formula 1 are going hybrid? What next- pit monkeys swapping monster batteries in/out of these vehicles? Huge speakers to simulate the growl of internal combustion engines?

I was completely unaware that the racing circuit had gone green. I had thought that massive expenditures of money and energy were the object of the exercise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What are they for

Most motor racing (outside the US at least) doesn't involve going round in a circle. There are lots of corners on most racing circuits, some of which are really tight; here's Hockenheim for example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockenheimring

Some of the motor racing variants, like WRC, don't involve going round anything. Except maybe the world.

I know exactly what you mean about Reading though, on the upside be thankful it isn't Basinghole ;)

As for KERS, it'll be interesting to see whether this technology rolls down to conventional cars in the future, or whether this is simply a greenwash job.

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Stu
Boffin

1 KWh battery life == ? Liters ethanol

I haven't followed F1 in several years, so this may be a dead subject, but...

We now have an energy storage system on the car other than ethanol. How will the F1 folks figure out the equivalent amount of fuel to be subtracted from the allotment given before/during the race?

I presume the teams *without* these fancy-schmancy energy recovery systems will yell like mashed cats.

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Paris Hilton

160,000 RPM !!!!

Holy Shrapnel, Batman!!!

What happens to the stored kinetic energy (in the fly wheel) when the auto takes a wrong turn and ends up embedded in nearest barrier??

Some 80's(?) work on storing energy in flywheels found that 3 or 4 METERS of steel reinforced concrete was needed to stop/contain a fragmenting steel flywheel of a few hundred stone, and only spinning at a few thousand rpms.

Also

Depending on spin direction, it might make taking some turns a bit difficult (see BMW drive shaft driven motorbikes - they turn left REALLY well -- read that as will slam you into the ground)

Paris - because even she knows to stay away from things spinning THAT fast. :)

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Pirate

won't work without an electric motor in the drivetrain

so you've gotta add this recovery device, it's storage medium, which weighs extra already, then you're going to need an electric drive motor to use the stored energy and apply it to the road. More weight. What about transmission changes? direct drive from the electric to the transaxle? Then acceleration is going to have to overcome more rotational intertia to spin the motor when it's not being powered.

methinks the extra weight of all the necessary support hardware will find itself absorbing most of that 'extra" 80 hp.

Gadgets like this need their own racing class. F1 is supposed to be about pushing limits, not increasing handicaps to "level" the field. As soon as they banned gas turbines and computer assistance, F1 became more like American and British public education more concerned with the self-esteem of children rather than allowing excellence and fostering greater achievement.

Time for F1 Unlimited where anything goes. Or an electric only racing class.

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Re: 1 KWh battery life == ? Liters ethanol

F1 cars don't run on ethanol (and never have) - there are vague rumours that FIA are discussing it but nothing concrete. Fuel and refuelling is unlimited, so there won't be any subtraction from the fuel load.

For those who can't work out how the KERS will power the wheels, I refer you to Mr Faraday's ingenious new invention, the electric motor. And of course a motor driven in reverse is a dynamo - I'll let you work the rest out...

This is all coming about due to a change of the rules allowing kinetic energy recovery and storage. Its very much a mixed blessing as the real advantage of an extra 80bhp (a 10% increase in power) for 7 seconds is countered by a 30kg weight - a substantial penalty in a 600kg car.

Nick

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Go

30kg weight

F1 cars have a minimum weight - so I would think that they are capable of stripping that weight out of the car elsewhere and using it to boost performance; the total car weight may not increase by 30kg.

Interesting to see how it affects racing; brakes should last a little longer and potentially fuel is saved - in turn meaning less pit stops (though that might require switching to harder compound tyres).

I should imagine teams are busy running simulations of there cars before and after changes to see how it affects performance over real word tracks. Passing might get easier if some drivers have braked hard & have 60KW boost for 5-6 seconds; up against a car that is maybe lighter and better on brakes and/or acceleration.

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Stop

Electric motors and extra weight

For all those suggesting that it's meaningless because F1 cars run on petrol, you have heard of electric motors, right?

@ Alex Simmons, Rick Brasche, Nick Porter: Formula 1 cars currently carry a substantial amount of ballast. As long as the KERS is lighter than the current ballast (though I don't know whether it is,) the only penalty will be the relocation of the mass; currently the ballast can be used to fine tune the car's centre of mass and weight distribution, but the KERS would no doubt result in less flexibility in the location of that mass.

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30kg weight

F1 cars have a minimum weight - so I would think that they are capable of stripping that weight out of the car elsewhere and using it to boost performance; the total car weight may not increase by 30kg.

Interesting to see how it affects racing; brakes should last a little longer and potentially fuel is saved - in turn meaning less pit stops (though that might require switching to harder compound tyres).

I should imagine teams are busy running simulations of there cars before and after changes to see how it affects performance over real word tracks. Passing might get easier if some drivers have braked hard & have 60KW boost for 5-6 seconds; up against a car that is maybe lighter and better on brakes and/or acceleration.

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Boffin

Those mentioning excess mass

All current F1 cars carry significant amounts of ballast weight to meet the class minimum (605kg including driver and all fluids except fuel) - they're usually 100-150kg under this without the ballast. So adding another 30kg to the car will only have a minimal effect as they do use the ballast location to tune the handling of the car.

And current fuel regs (from memory admittedly) require the fuel to be about 99% compliant with a standard unleaded which is homologated at the start of the season, some minimal additives allowed for safer high RPM running.

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Lots of F1 experts here!

As the title says - few people here appear to know more than the guys in F1 do!

And of course people who don't seem to understand it at all. It's been mentioned already, in laymans terms you press a button, you get 6 and a half seconds of boosted power ideal for overtaking manouvres, something F1 has been lacking due to Ferrari not allowing it and otherwise lack of driver talent/will.

We already know KERS can be dangerous, BMW's mechanics certainly do :D - as for flywheels spinning off out the car - they're no more dangerous than any other part of flying car, by the time it's external to the car (which, depending on the location could be next to impossible) it'd be about as dangerous as decapitated driver's little finger flying into the crowd.

"Mummy Mummy, I've got Robert Kubica's pinky!"

"Put it in your pocket son, it'll be worth a fortune on eBay!"

KERS is *not* about F1 going green, that's not something likely to happen for a good few years yet.

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Boffin

ELectric motors

Those cars have a lot of telemetry, cameras, electric shifting and other electronics that use power from the engine with some kind of alternator? maybe just by not taking that power away from the engine they are allowing it to get better fuel efficiency.

also they do have starter motors? starter motors turn the engine over to make it start. if it was beefed up redesigned a bit and made able to work continuously then a part that is already there would be used as a booster.

I dont know if they allow turbos or superchargers. but they could use electricity for that as well.

mind you maybe they dont have starter motors. last time i watched f1 years ago i think that if one stalled then they couldnt re-start it without help.

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Flame

Dual use

Presumably the electric energy capture system can be (at least a big part of) the electric energy release system, so to all those looking for an extra electric motor and drive train changes to dump the stored energy - look no further than the topic at hand.

Fire, natch.

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The real weight issue....

Is actually that of the driver. The lightest KERS system is thought to be 30kg with all battery versions coming in at 60kg (BMW, Red Bull for example). Whilst the addition of weight to the car in itself isn't a huge deal, because it simply means less ballast as pointed out, it does mean less ballast to fine to the chassis. This matter is compounded if the driver is taller and heavier as it means they have even less ballast to play with as the weight disadvantage will start to show in lap times.

It has even been suggested that Robert Kubicka and Mark Webber, for example, could even opt to run without KERS to give them back the ballast they will lose and further disadvantage their laps times compared to lighter KERS runners. In actual fact KERS is so limited in it's application according to the F1 regs (severely limited push to pass boost), that it has turned them into nothing more than fuel efficiency devices rather than performance advantages. So you could well see teams start the season with it then sack it off.

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IT Angle

wtf #3

Am I the only one who wondered what the hell a 'La Mans' (sic) racer is? I never heard of that one before.

IT, because you can probably spell that :-P

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Go

Fuel

If I recall correctly, re-fuelling during pitstops is not allowed from the 2009 season.

Also, there are two types of KERS. One electric, using batteries and electric motors/generators and the other entirely mechanical using flywheel/transmission.

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J

Titles, titles...

"F1 is supposed to be about pushing limits, not increasing handicaps to "level" the field."

Exactly, and that's what it IS trying to do. They are pushing the limits of technology. With hopes that said tech will later go to street cars. That's what F1 is about too, not just racing. If it was just a driver's championship, then they would do like the Americans, with a handful of "equal" cars, 50 drivers, and go.

Those pesky engineers in F1 usually manage to make the car faster or more efficient every season, no matter what crazy regulations people throw at them. We'll see how it will go this time.

@"also they do have starter motors?"

No.

@"I dont know if they allow turbos or superchargers."

No, since the mid-80s, I think.

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