From KERS to ERS
In 2009, hybrid technology made its Formula 1 debut with the introduction of KERS, the kinetic energy recovery system produced by the braking forces on the rear axle, which at first was optional. Ferrari immediately took on the challenge and the experience gained in five years of development, (with one year less of track use in 2010,) has proved to be very valuable, both in terms of technology transfer to the road cars and in light of the new 2014 powertrain regulations.
Based on the technical regulations, the maximum available power per lap is 60kW for an energy total of 400 kJ. The architecture of the system features an electric motor attached to a thermic motor, equipped with an electronic control unit and a battery pack. Weight, the ability to repeat performance, compact dimensions, installation within the car, as well as the obvious requirements for reliability and driver and crew safety, are the key parameters for assessing the worth of the project, given that its performance gains are fixed by the regulations.. Over the course of this five year period, significant results have been achieved in terms of overall efficiency, which can be summed up as follows:
- -10% volume
- -20% weight
- -40% cost per unit
- -90% cost per race
- 100% availability for us in qualifying and races
The introduction of KERS has brought other collateral effects, such as steps forward in miniaturisation of electrical and electronic components, the development of advanced systems for storing energy, the training of personnel on the technical side and on management in terms of safety, generally increasing the company’s know-how.
2014 will signal a revolution in Formula 1 with the introduction of a new power supply – a 1600cc V6 with a rev limit of 15000 rpm, fitted with direct injection, an e-turbo and KERS. The “hybrid” element will therefore come from a combination of thermic energy from the turbine and kinetic energy, derived from the now “classic” KERS. Furthermore, the regulations require a maximum fuel flow level of 100 kg/h and a maximum amount of fuel per race of 100 kg, as well as a further extension of engine life with each driver allowed only 5 engines per year instead of the current eight, with a further drop to four in the future.
The “hybrid” system will consist of a motor to recover kinetic energy (MGUK) and one for the thermic energy (MGUH) both linked to a battery pack on one side and a motor on the other.
The maximum useable power over one lap that can be generated by MGUK will be limited to 120 kW for a total energy value of 4MJ – double the current figure in terms of power, a tenfold increase in overall energy, while what can be stored will be half of it. However, the amount of useable energy produced by the MGUH will be free. That means that, if up until now KERS is an element that can make the difference based on its efficiency, in the future the system will not only need to be efficient, but it will also be able to make the difference in terms of outright performance. In terms of lap times, the gains generated by the new technology are reckoned to be around three seconds, while predicted maximum power will be similar to current levels (around 750 horsepower.)
The diagram shows the architecture of the 2014 powertrain: