BMW To Add F1 Hybrid System To M Division?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

BMW's Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) is an F1 innovation: a regenerative braking system which generates electricity to boost power. And while it helps F1 look green and well-behaved, the technology's run into a few… issues. Like when the Red Bull team had to vacate its headquarters due to a fire scare. Or when a BMW-Sauber team technician got zapped by the system in the video above. But crazy innovators that they are, BMW hasn't been scared off from KERS by mere video footage of its mechanic being lifted off the ground by a few thousand volts. Auto Motor und Sport reports that BMW is looking into developing hybrid options for its M-line. Since standard parallel hybrid systems don't offer much performance boost, Bee-Em are looking at using KERS on road-going models. After all, KERS gives F1 cars a .2 to .3 second per lap advantage. Wow! Of course the fact that KERS is five times lighter and smaller than any comparable road car's hybrid elements means expense will be high (as it always is for those precious extra tenths of a second). Accordingly, BMW isn't announcing when KERS will arrive for M-line vehicles. Shocking! (Video Hat Tip to Jalopnik)

Join the conversation
4 of 7 comments
  • Guyincognito Guyincognito on Jul 30, 2008

    I'm for it, just so long as it is only used to boost power and not fuel economy and it still allows the M3 to lose weight from its current form.

  • M20E30 M20E30 on Jul 30, 2008

    ^ I Second that. This will help BMW with it's current weight issue.But I wonder how long it will take to be put into fruition.

  • Lynn Ellsworth Lynn Ellsworth on Jul 31, 2008

    When I was young I wanted a BMW but now I don't care about the W. Sorry, I was just waiting to throw in that AARP joke.

  • JJ JJ on Jul 31, 2008

    Actually KERS has been allowed in the F1 regulations as of next year in the first place because the FIA thought it would be a good idea to once more let formula 1 be a proving ground for new technology for road cars of the future. They felt that these days flying a circus around the world burning the earth's resources and spending billions a year to make cars lap tenths of seconds faster per lap isn't exactly pc anymore, for which reason some justification should be in order, however with the restrictive regulations these days relevant technological innovations which used to be a good justification for F1 aren't really possible anymore. In the regulations it says that a driver may use a specific amount of Watts generated by the KERS system every lap to gain a performance advantage but not more than that amount. Every manufacturer in F1 (Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Renault and Honda) is now developing their own KERS system (there are several different designs possible) and the privateer teams may buy a system from them (most likely, their engine providers) or design one themselves. Because of several reasons, in practise this means Red Bull (Renault) and Williams (Toyota) might develop their own system and Scuderia Torro Rosso and Force India will probably get one from Ferrari, because they both use Ferrari engines already, although there are some wild rumors FI is trying to ditch them for Honda engines and a Honda KERS system, which not only would be cheaper but quite possibly better as well. One more important note is that the KERS system will add weight to the car. According to regulations the car+driver must weigh at least 600Kg (1333,33 lbs, about 450lbs less than an indycar) right now. However, most combinations are thought to be about 550Kg, where the rest is used as balast weight to create the ideal weight balance for the car. However, the KERS system is thought to add about 30Kg to every car, which means the margins are getting smaller and (relatively) big and heavy drivers like Kubica have doubted whether this gives them an unfair competitive disadvantage (like you'd expect them to do really) and argued that the minimum weight must be increased.