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Freescale and McLaren Electronic Systems Collaborate on F1 KERS Technology

Freescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems (MES) are collaborating to develop next-generation kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) technology for F1 racing from 2010 onward.

Freescale’s and MES’ KERS technology collaboration addresses the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA, the governing body of world motorsport) commitment to reduce development costs, enhance competition, and support ever-growing fuel efficiency and energy recovery initiatives in the next generation of Formula 1 powertrains. Smaller, lighter and more efficient hybrid systems are expected to result from these initiatives.

KERS is a hybrid regenerative braking system that is designed to recover kinetic energy from the car during braking, store that energy and make it available upon demand from the driver to accelerate the car. The stored kinetic power is released using a boost button that delivers a burst of extra power to the car for a short period—for example, while overtaking a competitor or defending a position.

MES will bring to the partnership its experience in electronic control unit (ECU) development and motor racing requirements, while Freescale will share its motor control, microcontroller and power system design expertise. Freescale engineers have already joined MES at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England, to start developing intelligent monitoring and control technology for the KERS motor/generator subsystem. The two companies also plan to develop solutions for monitoring and controlling the battery subsystem used to store the kinetic energy.

A key target of the joint project is to significantly increase efficiency over existing and emerging KERS technologies. In addition, the partners plan to use the automotive-qualified Freescale eTPU libraries within the KERS system to control the generator/motor. MES already uses Freescale products and technology in a number of its control units and sensors and is familiar with developing systems containing these semiconductors.

As the leading supplier of automotive semiconductors, Freescale can help MES make a difference in their quest for advanced powertrain control technology and energy-efficient systems...We will work hard to help ensure that the technologies developed in concert with MES will rapidly find their way into mainstream cars to the benefit of consumers and our automotive customers eager to receive energy-efficient solutions.

—Steve Wainwright, vice-president, sales and marketing and general manager, Freescale EMEA


Henry Gibson

The FLYDRID flywheel system is in development for F1 KERS (kinetic energy recovery system). Artemis technology is probably the best hydraulic KERS option for F1. Fully electrified valves opens up vast territory for KERS and engien control. ..HG..


I have to admit I'm quite surprised to see that most F1 teams are going with electrical KERS systems, as opposed to mechanical systems (ie flywheel, hydraulic etc). I suppose they're aiming for better control.

Interesting to note that MacLaren are going for batteries instead of capacitors too, like several other teams.


Both choices (electric KERS and batteries over capacitors) are logical for the current state of technology.
Batteries with sufficient power density are available from several vendors, while capacitors with sufficient energy density are not yet.
The room for capacitors in an F1 car is limited, even more so given the fact that capacitors require more complex (and larger) electronic control/power module.


When Williams were testing early KERS systems in the '90s, they were using capacitors. I think BMW are also trying capacitors in their F1 system today, given their experience with the X5 ultracap prototype.


TPU's (Timer Processing Units) were first introduced on the 68HC16 back in 1994. I attended one of Freescale's (then known as Motorola Semiconductor) seminars. They had developed about ten FPGAs onto their core processor and they were attempting outreach to bolster lackluster sales of 16 bit devices. Applications such as PWM outputs, stepper motor algorithms and more interestingly for the automotive market - tachometry was discussed. They described interesting examples of missing tooth and extra tooth detectors that with suitably modified engine flywheels allowed you to get crankshaft positioning data as well as velocity signals from just ONE sensor. Of course, before some readers point it out, for more than a two cylinder engine a camshaft sensor will be required also.

After the dog and pony show there was a Q & A and someone noted that although the handouts were nearly half an inch thick there was some key information missing. That's when the organisers dropped a bomb on us "Anyone anticipating their use, and with signing authority, had to travel to their HQ in Phoenix AZ for the full TPU course only then could they receive full documentation" Signing authority needed because of minimum 10,000 order at $25 per shot (I'm assuming). Hmmm I just wasted a few hours coming here. I think strong letters to Motorola management are in order. Others thought the same.

Sometime later a beautiful marble paperweight with Motorola Insignia and a built in diminutive LCD clock arrived in the post to placate us.
Now this could be a great gift if your desk happens to be on the back of a moving van or pickup truck say, but not in my nearly paperless office.
They suggested the bedroom to be more apt. Well I could see it could be a great gift there; if you, it and a burglar were in your bedroom at the same time, on account of its hefty size. Of course for a bedroom it would need to have a wake-up alarm and snooze bar. Needless to say, it both doesn't and hasn't.

In fact the dial is so small that if it was on a bedside table three feet away I would need to take a pair of Bushnell binoculars to bed.
Also it is LCD and in the dark, you get the picture ... actually in this case you get no picture. But (Silence of the Lambs anyone ?) night vision goggles in the bedroom are not something you want your mother-in-law to find either ....

However, if nothing else and believe me - there is nothing, this "gift" has at least taught me the Value of Keeping Time. I'll explain. About one year later the mercury oxide watch battery on this "gift" ran out. Yeah I know, unbelievable, an ornament weighing almost 1Kg gets a watch battery weighing 50mg, go figure. On further evaluation there's a the label on the bottom stating (pleading?) that it is made of genuine marble. It certainly does look expensive, I reasoned, only a moron could discard such a unique artifact. Then again, some examples of stone cut marble can be exceedingly exquisite I'll agree. But did I mention that the color of this particular marble was puce ? Puce is not my favorite colour. And nobody elses, for that matter, as it turns out. And while it would be a pity to throw it out in the trash it could be put back to work just for the cost of a new battery. Well that's the argument I ran with for over ten years and then it gradually began to sink in that this puppy has been costing me a fortune in expensive watch batteries to keep alive. Now I don't know in which 'Little Shop of Horrors' Motorola found this gift which ever since has been chipping away with its yearly instalments from my finances and in return doing an excellent job albeit one which doesn't need doing, but it has now found a home - in its box. I discovered the Value of Keeping Time.
Some people on this site are probably wondering when I'll discover the Value of Time too, then perhaps my posts will be shorter too.

Neri Bar-On

Many years ago when i worked for Motorola semiconductors I led the people who developed the ETPU.

One of the reasons I was so passionate about the ETPU is for it to play a role in Zero emission and environmental technologies.

So for this technical forum I wish to say I am proud and happy to see the ETPU play in next generation breaking system.


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