Formula One Grand Prix Racing Embraces Battery Technology.
Formula 1 Racing has long been a leading Technology Innovator. This year is no different and has seen a radical overhaul of the Formula's Rule Book. Out are Large V8 engines. In are smaller 1.6l turbo charged "hybrids" Power Units that are maximising the use of The Energy Store, electric motors and Energy Recovery Systems.
The Energy Store: This is a complex battery pack and it sits in a recess under the chassis; it's made up of an array of lithium-ion cells and together they can deliver up to four mega-joules per lap. Managed by Special Control Units that convert the AC power created into to DC for storage in the battery. The engine can no longer be viewed in isolation and is now part of the "Power Unit" which uses less fuel than it's predecessor and can deliver more power from this "hybrid" technology, known as ERS.
ERS is shorthand for "Energy Recovery System", and consists of the "KERS" system that has been around for a while plus a second electric motor fitted to the turbo-charger.
The KERS system harnesses kinetic energy from the rear axle when the car is under going braking via an electric motor. This energy is stored in a battery pack and can be re-introduced to the system under acceleration. In 2013 this power unit was allowed to deliver up to 60kw for up to 6.7 seconds in a single lap. In 2014, it is permitted to produce up to an eye watering 150kw for 30 seconds.
The second electric motor is able to harness redundant energy from the turbo-charger that would otherwise be expunged as heat. The energy from this can be either stored in the battery or used immediately to help accelerate the car. Additionally, this electric motor helps the efficiency of the turbo by reducing "turbo lag" and can be used to ensure the turbo works the instant the driver applies the throttle.
In previous years the drivers pushed a button on the steering wheel to access the power stored by the KERS system, but the new ERS will be controlled by the engine management system as part of it's overall balance of how power is released through the "Power Unit" to the drive shaft. In the end this means that drivers can focus more on doing what they do best - driving these fabulous machines as fast as they can (within the rules).
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