A second F1 team has entered into a licence agreement with Torotrak for full-toroidal traction drive technology in a mechanically based kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) for the 2009 season. (Earlier post.)
The FIA has defined the amount of energy recovery for 2009 season as 400kJ per lap giving the driver an extra 80 hp over a period of 6.67 seconds.
The mechanical KERS system utilizes flywheel technology to recover and store a moving vehicle’s kinetic energy which is otherwise wasted when the vehicle is decelerated. The energy is received from the driveline through the Torotrak CVT as the vehicle decelerates, and is subsequently released back into the driveline, again through the CVT, as the vehicle accelerates.
The combination of the Torotrak variator, which provides mechanical efficiency in excess of 90%, with a flywheel of advanced lightweight construction, results in a highly efficient and compact energy storage system.
The licence granted to this F1 customer will allow the team to design, manufacture and assemble its own traction drive system or, at its option, source its traction drive technology and hardware from Torotrak’s existing partners Flybrid Systems and Xtrac.
Torotrak’s technology will be used by the new F1 licensee in an efficient, compact, continuously variable transmission (CVT) unit. This is a central element in the mechanical flywheel-variator KERS system as it provides a continuously variable ratio connection between the flywheel and the driveline, via the vehicle’s transmission.
A second major F1 team recognizing the benefits of the mechanical KERS system and utilizing its ability to contribute to improved performance reinforces the growing belief that our mechanical system is the most efficient KERS option for F1. It further supports the opportunity for acceptance of Torotrak's technology for use in mainstream road cars to provide improvements in performance, fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions.—Dick Elsy, Torotrak CEO