When Audi contests the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year with a pair of R18 e-tron quattro hybrids with electro-mechanical flywheels, they will be the first to use that configuration in the classic endurance race.
While Audi will be the first to actually race at Le Mans, they aren't the first to try. Sixteen years before Williams first ran this system in its 2009 F1 car,showed off a race car concept based around a flywheel powered hybrid.
The Patriot was shown as a concept in 1993 and it was hoped to run it at Le Mans in 1995. The chassis was designed by Reynard to the then-current World Sports Car rules but the powertrain was completely unique. Primary power came from a two-stage turbine driving a pair of alternators. The turbine was fueled by liquified natural gas. The electricity from the alternators was to feed a 500 hp AC induction traction motor.
Turbines have several advantages including being able to run on almost anything that will burn and producing a lot of power from a very small package. Unfortunately they aren't very good at transient response; that is handling sudden changes in output which is important on a race track where you spend a lot of time braking and accelerating.
That's where the flywheel comes in. Under braking, the motor would spin up the flywheel and then during acceleration the flywheel drive the alternators to generate a burst of electricity for accelerating.
While Williams and Porsche and have demonstrated the viability of using a flywheel hybrid in racing over the last 3 years, Chrysler was ahead of its time. During testing at Chrysler's tech center, flywheel failures destroyed several test cells and there were numerous other problems. By 1994, the project had been cancelled without ever running the completed powertrain in the Reynard chassis. The original concept now sits in the Walter P Chrysler museum in Auburn Hills MI.
As they say, timing is everything.
#chrysler #chryslerpatriot #flywheelhybrid
Google+: View post on Google+
Post imported by Google+Blog. Created By Daniel Treadwell.