Honda is testing its hybrid technology in a brand new field – the Formula One racetrack.
The company announced two years ago that it will reunite with McLaren, an old business partner and current Formula One contender, for the 2015 race season. Honda was charged with designing a new power unit for the car, which the team ran for the first time in a two-day testing session last month.
In an effort to shift Formula One racing into a more environmentally friendly motorsport, the thunderous and thirsty V8 engines have been retired. Honda’s new power unit is a complex system that includes an internal combustion engine and two electric Energy Recovery Systems (ERS). A 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 with an approximate 600 horsepower output heads the system.
Supporting it is an ERS unit that recovers kinetic energy when the car brakes. The other ERS generator unit captures heat energy from the exhaust. Together, the driver can use the ERS systems as a brief 160-horsepower boost.
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“Honda has a long history of advancing our technologies and nurturing our people by participating in the world’s most prestigious automobile racing series,” said Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Company. “The new F1 regulations with their significant environmental focus will inspire even greater development of our own advanced technologies.”
Honda will be able to harness the technology it develops and refines for Formula One to improve its hybrid passenger cars, just as it did when it participated in the race circuit six years ago. One of their current technologies that traveled from the track to the street is Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve timing system, which is currently standard on the Hybrid Accord.
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