September 14, 2008 The quest for ever more efficient use of the energy gleaned from the internal combustion engine will see F1 using a kinetic energy recovery system from 2009, but it appears the innovative forces of motorsport competition may also extend to the Le Mans Racing Series. Peugeot Sport will use the final round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Silverstone to unveil a 908 HDi FAP equipped with hybrid power featuring a kinetic energy recovery system. Currently, every racing car in the world wastes most of the energy it has used in reaching maximum speed down the straight when that energy is dissipated in the form of heat via the brakes. Peugeot’s HY technology enables a proportion of the kinetic energy produced under braking to be either recovered or stored.
When this energy is harnessed, it enables the vehicle's efficiency to be improved with either enhanced performance (with no increase in the energy consumed) or by reduced fuel consumption for the same level of performance thanks to the availability of stored mechanical energy.
The system featured on this demonstrator comprises three key elements:
1) a 60kW gear-driven electric motor-generator which takes the place of the conventional starter motor,
2) batteries which permit recovered energy to be stored in 600 lithium-ion cells divided into 10 battery packs (six in the cockpit instead of the conventional battery and four on the left-hand side of the flat bottom).
3) an electronic power converter (located in the rear part of the front left wing) which controls the flow of energy between the batteries and the motor-generator.
The 908 HY can be driven in electric mode only (where it may be used under speed limited conditions such as in pit-lane), or with only the internal combustion engine or with a combination of the two. The additional electrical power in the current configuration is 60 kW (80 bhp) and from figures released by Peugeot, it appears that the additional power will be available for approximately the same number of seconds that the car is under brakes. In the course of a lap of the Le Mans race circuit, for example, the system will recuperate energy for between 20 and 30 seconds. This energy reserve can be used for delivering extra power of 80 bhp for approximately 20 seconds per lap at the driver’s discretion (perhaps when overtaking in ‘push to pass’ mode), or automatically when accelerating out of a corner.
Alternatively, the reduced fuel consumption of between three and five per cent may be deemed more useful at in certain circumstances. For example, depending on race strategy or, based on the computer simulations now commonly used by the most advanced race teams in such events, to enable a driver to go back onto the track with a clear road in front of him.
Peugeot Sport, Director Michel Barge declares the new hybrid 908 HDi FAP is “in perfect keeping with the overall mission of our endurance racing programme which covers not only the challenge of competing, of course, but also the fact that as a car manufacturer we can use motor sport as a research and development tool for the Peugeot brand as a whole.”
“After innovating through the use of our HDi FAP technology in competition, running a hybrid car in endurance racing would give Peugeot a chance to gain extremely valuable experience that would benefit the development of production cars,” said Barge. “Whether we use this technology or not in 2009 will obviously depend on the details of the new regulations published by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.”
The 908 HY will provide a foretaste of what Peugeot's next endurance racing challenger could resemble, although its use will depend on the regulations that will govern LMP1 cars from 2009.