Embedded control: Companies team to develop energy-saving regenerative braking technology

Freescale and McLaren Electronic Systems have agreed to combine expertise to develop next-generation kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS)


Munich, GermanyFreescale Semiconductor and McLaren Electronic Systems (MES) have announced a collaborative initiative to develop next-generation kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) technology for the highest levels of motor racing from 2010 onward. The technology development is prompted by the governing body of world motorsport, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), which has made a commitment to reduce development costs, enhance competition, and support ever-growing fuel efficiency and energy recovery initiatives in the next generation of Formula 1 powertrains. Smaller, lighter and more efficient hybrid systems are expected to result from these initiatives.
KERS is a hybrid regenerative braking system that is designed to recover kinetic energy from the vehicle during braking, store that energy, and make it available upon demand to accelerate later. The stored kinetic power is released using a “boost” button that delivers a burst of extra power to the car for a short burst, such as when overtaking a competitor or defending a position.
“Formula 1 is one of the most exciting and fastest moving laboratories for automotive technology,” said Steve Wainwright, vice-president, sales and marketing and general manager, Freescale EMEA. “This joint KERS development project with McLaren Electronic Systems is on the cutting edge. As the leading supplier of automotive semiconductors, Freescale can help MES make a difference in their quest for advanced powertrain control technology and energy-efficient systems. We will work hard to help ensure that the technologies developed in concert with MES will rapidly find their way into mainstream cars to the benefit of consumers and our automotive customers eager to receive energy-efficient solutions.”
“We are excited to be working with Freescale, whom we know from our many years of experience with their products to be a world-class silicon supplier,” said Dr. Peter van Manen, managing director of McLaren Electronic Systems. “We are optimistic that, together, we will produce a system that will offer the best performance, efficiency and reliability that is demanded in the highest forms of motor racing.”
MES will bring to the partnership its experience in electronic control unit (ECU) development and motor racing requirements, while Freescale will share its motor-control, microcontroller, and power-system design expertise. Freescale engineers have already joined MES at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, UK to start developing intelligent monitoring and control technology for the KERS motor/generator subsystem. The two companies also plan to develop solutions for monitoring and controlling the battery subsystem that will be used to store the kinetic energy.
A key target for the joint project is to significantly increase efficiency over existing and emerging KERS technologies. In addition, the partners plan to use the automotive-qualified Freescale eTPU libraries within the KERS system to control the generator/motor components.
Edited by C.G. Masi , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
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