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Drayson Racing and Lola unveil battery-electric Le Mans prototype; application of structural composite batteries

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The Lola-Drayson B12/69EV Click to enlarge.

Drayson Racing Technologies and Lola Group unveiled the anticipated electric-powered Le Mans prototype racing car, the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV, at the 2012 Low Carbon Racing Conference at the NEC. (Earlier post.) The car showcases technologies such as inductive charging, moveable aerodynamics, structural composite batteries and electrical regenerative damping.

Traction power for the Lola LMP is provided by three Li-ion battery packs manufactured by Mavizen comprising li-ion battery cells made by A123 Systems. Additionally, the car features structural composite batteries (earlier post) from BAE systems—i.e., multifunctional structural composite material which can store and discharge electrical energy and which is also strong and lightweight enough to be used for car parts.

BAE Systems has been investigating and demonstrating structural batteries and capacitors as part of recent projects funded by the UK Ministry of Defense as well as by the private sector. The projects demonstrate the feasibility of generating multifunctional materials and methods to convert inert structural elements into load-bearing, energy-storage media.

BAE says that this approach enables the creation of energy storage devices with very high volumetric efficiencies that can be built into the structure of an object providing an integral battery to deliver greater design flexibility and distributed mass. BAE has eight patent applications filed or in progress on this technology that incorporates the chemicals that batteries contain directly into composites.

For the Lola Drayson B12/69EV, structural battery technology offers the opportunity to house power for some onboard electronic systems within the structure, allowing the main batteries to be dedicated to propelling the car.

The 700V pack has a capacity of around 60 kWh. The battery pack powers four axial flux Oxford YASA motors via inverters supplied by Rhinehart. The motors, generating more than 850 peak horsepower (634 kW) power the rear wheels, and are mounted in a similar place to where there the existing powerplant is located. These will be fitted to the driveshafts and the wheels will be driven in a very similar way to how they are now. The car will not change gears; it has a single reduction gear linking the drive from the electric motors to the driveshafts.

The charging is via a HaloIPT wireless induction system which will utilize coils within the floor of the car. (Earlier post.)

The weight of the car will be approximately 1000 kg, slightly in excess of the regular 900 kg in LMP1 presently. The overall control system for the car will be supplied by Drayson Racing Technologies working in partnership with Cosworth who supplied the original system for the 2010 LMP1 car.

In addition to the completely new electric drivetrain, the car will benefit from new aerodynamic features being developed by Lola in conjunction with BAE Systems and a new recycled carbon fibre technology developed in house by Lola.

Electric racing represents a considerable new business opportunity for motorsport and underlines the growing commercial potential of green racing and technology. Electric-powered racing is really taking off with the launch of the new FIA Formula E world championship for electric racing cars planned for 2013 and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of the push for innovation at such an exciting time for the sport and industry.

Indeed, the B12/69EV racing car that we are unveiling today showcases advances such as inductive charging, composite battery power, moveable aerodynamics and electrical regenerative damping, making it one of the most innovative cleantech motorsport project in the world. With over 850 horsepower, it aims to be the fastest electric-powered racecar to lap a circuit.

—Lord Drayson

The engineers are confident that the car will be as fast, if not faster, than a conventional Le Mans racer over a single lap. The immediate aim of the project is to prove this.

Comments

HarveyD

Integrating higher performance batteries into composites bodies/frames and using composites wheels, components, parts etc could reduce total e-vehicles weight and push e-range close to current ICEVs.

Basis materials cost is not much higher than steel. Extra manufacturing cost could be reduced with improved mass production methods, specially in countries with low labor cost.

kelly

This is ground-breaking winning EV technology and Drayson Racing Technologies and Lola Group are to be praised.

Le Mans is eight and a half(8.5) miles long. So clear the route, drive the hybrid car for a few record breaking laps, and begin the real 'race'.

Start legal injunctions against Le Mans outlawing the EV hybrid car, as they did the 1991 winning Mazda rotary engine. Just two years on the then 60 year reciprocating ICE race and the rotary ate their lunch.

It's like the Indy 500 outlawing the race leading gas turbine or GM spending it's 1990s/2000s $1B EV1 budget on outlawing electric vehicles.

The real 'race' is against the over-paid corporate officer Luddites and lawyers of most industries.

Truly advancing race times or spinning off disruptive advanced more economic products for the common man is way down the corporate list of priorities(electronics exempted).

DaveD

I think this is AWESOME news. Look at all the advances they are already pushing in batteries and materials.

These cars will push the envelope more than anything else because they HAVE to have more energy density, faster recharging, lighter weight, etc to beat the competition.

Wait till they start using inverters made from gallium nitride which are much smaller/lighter, handle more power and are more efficient (99% vs 85-90%). Better regen, less cooling needed, longer range out of the same battery pack.

Calvin Brock

Wow! What an eye opener this post has been for me. Very much appreciated, bookmarked, I can’t wait for more! Honda Civic Performance Exhaust System

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