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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Closer look at the technology in the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid

Following the first race victory for the new Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid we thought it might be interesting to have a closer look at the Porsche/Williams hybrid system. Porsche have uploaded a CGI cut-away animation of the system which gives us some idea of how it works.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid has two 60kw (80 hp) water cooled electric motors connected to the front wheels via reduction gears. The motors are in a single enclosure sharing a common cooling system. Their shafts of each motor are separate to allow for differential function between the two front wheels which is most likely a software differential.

We have to speculate a little about the actual operation of the system as Porsche have not provided full technical details. The video shows a standard 911 RS with a manual transmission and the Front Wheel Drive electric KERS system operating under the control of a steering wheel mounted 'boost' or 'push-to-pass' button.

(click for larger image)

As the system used is based on the still-born Williams F1 flywheel KERS system it might be safe to assume it operates in a similar fashion to F1 KERS where a mild amount of regeneration occurs during braking until the storage system is full to capacity. With the flywheel at it's maximum speed of 40,000 rpm, brake regeneration would stops which, as in F1, randomly changes the brake balance of the car. The bit we would like more information on is how Porsche deal with this sudden change in brake bias front to rear when braking on the limit in a race situation.

The flywheel generator is a carbon fiber flywheel driven by an electric motor and stores energy mechanically as kinetic energy. It's can store up to 120 kj and releases it electricity for short bursts of around 6-8 seconds as a push-to-pass boost button.

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