The BMW Sauber F1 Team is developing an electric KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) brake energy regeneration and storage system for use in its F1.09 next year. Starting with the next season, Formula One regulations allow for the use of hybrid technology to increase the output and efficiency of the race cars. (Earlier post.)
The BMW Sauber F1.09 KERS system—a combination of electric motor and generator, the requisite power electronics and an energy storage module—will store enough energy under braking to provide an additional 60 kW of output over about 6.5 seconds of acceleration. Weighing less than 40 kg, the power density of the F1 KERS technology is considerably greater than that of the electric regen and capture systems currently used in standard production vehicles.
The newly acquired expertise will flow straight into production car development over the years to come, according to BMW.
The BMW Group can transfer the knowledge gained within the BMW Sauber F1 Team directly into the development of standard production vehicles. This makes Formula One the ideal pre-development platform for innovative drive technologies. The new Formula One regulations give us the opportunity to use innovative hybrid technology under extreme conditions and in so doing to garner crucial expertise for series development as well...The KERS unit designed for the BMW Sauber F1.09 is a highly effective variant of brake energy regeneration technology, and is similar in the way it works to the ActiveHybrid technology developed for BMW standard production vehicles.—Dr. Klaus Draeger, member of the BMW AG Board of Management responsible for development
The BMW Group already includes a brake energy regeneration system in a large number of its series-produced models as part of its BMW EfficientDynamics package. In September 2007, the company introduced the Concept X6 ActiveHybrid—an application of the two-mode hybrid system developed in partnership with GM and DaimlerChrysler—in another concept car, the X6 “Sports Activity Coupé” at the Frankfurt Motor Show. (Earlier post.) It is also preparing to introduce BMW ActiveHybrid technology in various model series.
For us KERS is an extremely exciting project and a great opportunity. We are standing at the threshold between a conventional package of engine and independent transmission and an integrated drive system. The power density of the KERS components will far exceed that of today’s hybrid vehicles. KERS will see Formula One take on a pioneering role for series production technologies going forward.
F1 will give a baptism of fire to innovative concepts whose service life and reliability have not yet reached the level required for series production vehicles, and their development will be driven forward at full speed. At BMW we have always used the Formula One project as a technology laboratory for series production. With KERS this approach takes on a whole new dimension. Formula One will re-position itself and undergo a change of image, allowing the sport to take significant strides forward in terms of public acceptance.—Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director
Other F1 teams are looking to mechanically based KERS solutions for the 2009 season. (Earlier post.)