James Bond might want to pay attention to the new hybrid vehicle technology Freescale Semiconductor announced today: a regenerative braking system that will use a special “boost button” to release the recovered kinetic energy for “a burst of extra power.” The regenerative braking system, which collects kinetic energy during braking and stores it to give the car extra oomph during acceleration, is being developed in collaboration with McLaren Electronic Systems for Formula 1 race cars in 2010.
The Freescale/MES system wouldn’t work exactly like the boring regen system in your Prius. Regenerative systems in passenger vehicles collect kinetic energy during braking and store it for use in regular acceleration. Freescale and MES have more of a Batmobile/Knight Rider approach to using that banked energy. According to the press release: “The stored kinetic power is released using a “boost” button that delivers a burst of extra power to the car for a short period — for example, while overtaking a competitor or defending a position.” A sort of cleantechy afterburner, if you will.
Freescale says the main goal of the project is to increase the car’s fuel efficiency, which would mean fewer pit stops. The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA), the governing body of world motorsports, has committed to greening motorspots, an effort that has also brought innovations from tire makers and biofuel brewers. It’s a truism in the auto world that many innovations, from biofuels to efficiency to crash safety, are trialed on the race track before becoming part of everyday driving, and this initiative is no exception. According to the companies, this Bond-esque technology will lead to smaller, lighter and more efficient hybrid systems in mainstream vehicles.
Image courtesy of FIA.