KERS technology revealed

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jon Hilton of Flybrid, Adrian Moore of Xtrac and Dick Elsy of Torotrak with their compact flywheel and CVT variator for the KERSA British company has confirmed it is working with a top F1 team on the development of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System planned for 2009.

Torotrak is working with two other companies, Xtrac and Flybrid Systems, to supply several important technologies. These are Torotrak’s traction drive technology, a continuously variable transmissions (CVT) by Xtrac and Flybrid’s hybrid vehicle expertise. CVT was previously banned in Formula 1.

The picture shows Jon Hilton of Flybrid, Adrian Moore of Xtrac and Dick Elsy of Torotrak with their compact flywheel and CVT variator for the KERS.

Some teams are understood to be lobbying the FIA to delay the introduction of KERS to 2011.

The trio explained how the system works:

“The mechanical KERS system utilises flywheel technology developed by Flybrid Systems to recover and store a moving vehicle’s kinetic energy which is otherwise wasted when the vehicle is decelerated. The energy is received from the driveline through the Torotrak CVT, engineered and supplied by Xtrac, as the vehicle decelerates, and is subsequently released back into the driveline, again through the CVT, as the vehicle accelerates. The FIA has defined the amount of energy recovery for the 2009 season as 400kJ per lap giving the driver an extra 80hp over a period of 6.67 seconds.

“Compared to the alternative of electrical-battery systems, the mechanical KERS system provides a significantly more compact, efficient, lighter and environmentally-friendly solution.

“The components within each variator include an input disc and an opposing output disc. Each disc is formed so that the gap created between the discs is ‘doughnut’ shaped; that is, the toroidal surfaces on each disc form the toroidal cavity.

“Two or three rollers are located inside each toroidal cavity and are positioned so that the outer edge of each roller is in contact with the toroidal surfaces of the input disc and output disc.

“As the input disc rotates, power is transferred via the rollers to the output disc, which rotates in the opposite direction to the input disc.

“The angle of the roller determines the ratio of the Variator and therefore a change in the angle of the roller results in a change in the ratio. So, with the roller at a small radius (near the centre) on the input disc and at a large radius (near the edge) on the output disc the Variator produces a ‘low’ ratio. Moving the roller across the discs to a large radius at the input disc and corresponding low radius at the output produces the ‘high’ ratio and provides the full ratio sweep in a smooth, continuous manner.

“The transfer of power through the contacting surfaces of the discs and rollers takes place via a microscopic film of specially developed long-molecule traction fluid. This fluid separates the rolling surfaces of the discs and rollers at their contact points.

“The input and output discs are clamped together within each variator unit. The traction fluid in the contact points between the discs and rollers become highly viscous under this clamping pressure, increasing its ‘stickiness’ and creating an efficient mechanism for transferring power between the rotating discs and rollers.”

More about KERS

38 comments on “KERS technology revealed”

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  1. Nixtrix – Unfortunately your physics is bad. As the name suggests the system is designed to retrieve Kintetic Energy i.e. energy due to motion.

    Normally the kinetic energy due to a cars motion is lost through heat from the braking system dissipated into the atmosphere.

    So the new KERS will not only save petrol not expended in acceleration (the stored energy helps here) but reduce Global Warming from saving the brake heat!!!

  2. Forget all the high teck gimmicktry, and just get F1 back to basics.
    Small engines, small or no wings, steel brakes and slick tyres.
    Let the drivers be racers again, see who can look after there gear the best, and we may just get to see some actual overtaking on the track.

  3. KERS will only be put back if Ferrari are struggling with the concept. Mclaren seem t be trialing ok, but red bull and toyota are struggling, as it sounds on the grape vine…we all know the FIA will go with what every Ferrari say so if they say give it another year they will get another year….
    Melbourne look like it will be fun for the first eace tho

  4. Slick tyres are back next year along with front wing alteration by the driver during the race.

  5. Sorry Brocky,

    But F1 is NOT about the driver… The driver is only part of it. Think of it as a HUGE R&D for manufacturers and other companies to take technologies to the market. At the same time, make lots of $$. Find out about all the technologies that are in our cars thanks to the developent in or for F1 (TCS, ABS, etc, etc).

  6. Hi everybody, I agree with CM it is truly about technology which will end up benefitting average Joe’s like myself in new technological advancements e.g. in our cars. I do believe that drivers play a large part in the car as their skill is tested but to advance humans need challenge and difference and anyway we have the A1 Grand Prix which tests purely driver skill as the cars are identical so we have competitions to satisfy everybody really. However there will obviously always be arguements between sports enthusiasts about what should be done but unfortunately it is out of our control. Personally i like the idea of the KERS, however,I,like everyone else, will have to wait to see if the weight issues compared to power gain (during the course of a race) issues will be resolved but ultimately the testing will be worthwhile to everyone. Does anybody agree that Sebastien Vettel took unnecessary action overtaking Lewis Hamilton today and think that Lewis is on the receiving end of huge jealousy from supposedly elite sportsman like monobrow-man Alonso? It seems to me that the only true rival of Hamilton’s that is in any way sportsman-like is Felipe Massa who was humble in defeat at his home track in Brazil! Even though Massa was upset he did not sulk like Alonso who is apparently the best pound for pound formula 1 driver currently. Who can possibly say? Like earlier in my comments, unless the drivers all had identical engines, manufacturers and rules etc. then nobody can say for real, it is ridiculous. Hope we have a good season next year though the rules and regulations may yield some surprises!!!

  7. I think it’s time that F1 got back to basics.
    Real gear changing and foot clutches, no on board telemtry or radio, steel brakes and limited wing area front and back. The current F1 cars are so ugly now with all the wings on them. They must also be very boring to drive as it seems that any kid who has grown up with a playstation can drive them.
    F1 was driven by the technocrats and the software engineers and the result is ugly, boring cars. What did you expect !

  8. Andrew Connolly
    24th November 2008, 1:06

    1.21 Gigawatts? Great scott.

  9. KERS is a brilliant idea, admit it folks, yet for me this is by far, too ambitious.

    It is noble that even races as hard as F-1 should consider a new dogma, i.e.: fuel efficiency and keep on thinking green.

    I believe, in next F1 seasons, there will be some regulations that force every F1 team to use wind-sail, solar cells and other “green” devices.

    And I’m sure that such racing will still very amusing, remember that we won’t live forever. Next generation of F1 fanatics will have a totally different perception.

    Go, KERS, go!

    1. Green, LMAO there more chemicals and additives in Fi Fuel than space shuttle rocket fuel.

  10. What the hell next, solar panels and wind generaors? This is pure BS (KER’s) Don’t want to be around when one of those lets go at the RPM their turning cause nothing gonna stop em… The greening of F1. Might as well paint all the bodies green. Pure Bull Doodies.

  11. HA HA reminds me of my racing Daf 33 from 30 years ago

  12. Amit Palsule
    27th March 2009, 13:33

    I think this technology is just like NOS wich will be glicerine for the F1 world.It will help on the staight roads, It will decrease the time for few seconds.It will also increase the top speed,but on the turns there are chances of wipping out if the driver pushes the botton!!!!!!!!!

  13. stop being girls F1, bring back turbos, that will lower the cost of performance.

  14. Mark Gradwell
    29th March 2009, 14:41

    Two competing technologies. Mechanical flywheel and electric motor-capacitor/battery. On the domestic car front both adding weight and danger. With the flywheel a 64k RPM. spinny thing being suddenly released when a car crashes opposed to kilo-amps cumming from the battery pack of the electrical system.

    All in all I’m hoping mechanical ends up winning this particular VHS/Betamax war. Since it will be inherently lighter and simpler. Ether system could save your life one day if say you mis judge an overtaking maneuver on some lonely country road.

    As for saving the environment…er no. Only a breakthrough with nuclear fusion reactor technology can do that. Frankly enjoy it while you can folks. We’re almost certainly stuffed.

  15. i cant beleive i stumbled onto your post..thanks so much!!! i am going to have to sign up 2 ur RSS feed so i can keep updated with your post…thanks Again

  16. KERS or regenerative brakes have serious disadvantages. It is only good for sport cars but hardly have any advantages with standard cars because it has to operate an electric generator, which works only at higher speeds and may not be possible to operate with front wheels.

    My invented new brake system has eliminated all these disadvantages. Please read my article at:

  17. I appreciate, cause I found exactly what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye.

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