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Old 09-13-2009, 10:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Energy Recovery System - F1

All right... so, who really understands this system? I've read about it, looked at the pictures, watched the videos and I still don't see how it works (specifically).

Formula 1 race cars have recently started using it and the teams that don't have it now, want it now from what I understand becasue it's supposed to be good for a boost of about 80 HP. It's only legal for F1 racers to use the system a set number of times per race.

Let's talk about it because it's cool as f***. And before I forget I'm wondering if this is like a hybrid system? Does it have a battery and use electric energy to boost with an electric motor? The discussion is as much for anyone on the internet as it is for me so please keep it open and don't assume that I'm an idiot that can't figure it out but rather I'm curious to see what people say about it and everyone can learn from the discussion.

Formula One to phase in Kinetic Energy Recovery System from 2009-2013 — Autoblog Green

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Old 09-13-2009, 11:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Ah, it is a flywheel and a variator.

When you want to slow down you put energy into spinning up the flywheel. You choose low gearing in the variator to slow down faster and speed up the flywheel (that rolling pin shaped thing) faster.

When you want to accelerate, then you take energy from the flywheel (thereby slowing it down) and putting it into the transmission, again through the variator.

Adds 55 lbs to the car, limited boost, controlled by a button on the steering wheel.

Flywheel weight/max rpm/alignment/distribution and Gyroscopic effect on vehicle handling, unspecified.
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It looks like it'll work great for race cars, because they're always either heavily accelerating, or heavily braking. It wouldn't work as well for normal drivers because once you 'charge' the flywheel (brake), you would have to use it shortly after, or the flywheel will slow down on its own.

It's probably electronically controlled, but it's not a regular hybrid system. The 'battery' in this case, is the flywheel, not something that stores electrical energy.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Awesome ok, I kinda figured it out after reading it more but you guys explained even better. Basically it's great when you've kept the flywheel in motion.

So it wouldn't be worth it's weight on a street car? That's something that still remains to be seen. Skip down to the 4th paragraph if you want to get straight to the point of me including this link: Formula 1 hybrid technology: high-speed flywheel energy recovery systems ready to hit the race track also may be coming to the street. - Free Online Library
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The KERS can be mechanical (flywheel) or electrical, as the team prefers. Both can be considered as hybrid because you are using several energy sources. Same limitations apply to both solutions : 80 hp during 6.6s per turn.

Before current season several teams had problems when they were developing the batteries (at least 1 electrocution and 1 explosion). Everybody was thinking Toyota would make the best system, but they declared the system in a F1 is totally different from the one in a prius so they didn't had any advantage.

Currently the wining teams aren't using any KERS. Having a KERS make the car heavier and more difficult to equilibrate, both making a worse breaking. During today's grand prix, Hamilton left the circuit because when he used it the car got desequilibated and he lost its control. Renault removed the KERS from their cars after a few grand prix and got it back only for the 2 fastest grand prix (Belgium & Italy). I bet they'll remove it for the season reminding as the circuits will be slower.

The main goal for next season is to lower the cost for teams. While some spent a lot to develop the KERS, others developed their aero... and are winning.

Denis.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ah yes, taking it off because it's not as good as thought...

Thanks Denis, that's some good information. It totally makes sense that they wouldn't want it on the slower tracks. I guess people always wonder whether a hybrid system will be worth it's weight and cost. Manufacturers have tried so many differenst systems throughout the years, many of which haven't come to fruition unfortunately.

I'm still not totally sure how the electric system works though. I wonder if that could ever make it into a street car.

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