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Friday, February 11, 2011

Formula One Teams consider running F1 cars in EV mode down pit lane

In a recent interview with, Jonathan Neale, managing director of McLaren mentioned Formula One Teams are considering running F1 cars as EVs in the pit lane.

"There’s a debate going on about running F1 cars as EVs in the pit lane. Some people say, “Isn’t that just a milk float in the pit lane?” But when you look at the technology required to make that happen and restart the engine at the end of the pit lane it’s exciting."

This year most Formula One cars on the grid will be equipped with a 60 Kw liquid cooled brushless direct current (BLDC) motor / generator unit. That's almost as much power as the 80 Kw motor found in the Nissan Leaf, yet an F1 car is approx 1/3rd the weight. Combined with the 400kj (111 watt hour) KERS battery storage that's more than enough power to traverse a pit lane at the usual 100 km/h speed limit.

Sounds like a great idea. It might be seen as a bit of a gimmick at first, but as the pit stops play a prominent role in the TV broadcasts, running silently in EV mode would be a very audible reminder to the hundreds of millions watching that F1 cars do in fact carry hybrid electric propulsion systems, something that can only be seen via a 'battery' TV graphic while the cars are on-track.

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