AUDI – 200mph HYBRID

AUDI – 200mph HYBRID

A Glimpse into the future

AUDI  LE MANS DIESEL HYBRID HAS WOW FACTOR !

Audi swept its way to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race this weekend, becoming the first team to win the event with a hybrid vehicle. Drivers Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer, and Benoit Treluyer took first place with an Audi R18 e-tron Quattro, followed by Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen, and Allan McNish, who also drove an e-tron Quattro. The event marked the 11th victory in 13 years for Audi, which completed the sweep when its non-hybrid Ultra finished third.

The e-tron Quattro, announced earlier this year, isn’t a typical hybrid. The car’s rear wheels are powered by a turbo-diesel V6 engine, with its front wheels controlled by an electric motor. Rather than load the vehicle with a large battery, Audi has instead connected its front-wheel motor to a flywheel system, which collects kinetic energy generated from braking and converts it into power.

The car’s 1-2 finish certainly says volumes about Audi’s engineering, though the e-tron wasn’t the only hybrid in contention at this year’s race. Toyota’s TS030 hybrid was also in contention at Le Mans, though it was derailed Saturday by a major crash.

Areo work is obvious. These cars now live in wind tunnels

Audi doesn’t mind pushing the envelope a little further than most people would and has proven that with the release of a new Le Mans race car. The racer is called the R18 e-Tron hybrid quattro, a four-wheel driven diesel hybrid race car that’s set to compete at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in France on June 16 and 17, 2012.

Working under the same principles as that of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, the R18 e-Tron hybrid quattro uses kinetic energy that’s recovered whenever the car brakes, storing that energy in the flywheel accumulator as electricity before being sent back to the electric motors on the front wheels. The motors take car of the front of the vehicle, while the rear wheels get their power from the car’s 510-horsepower V6 TDI engine. The only difference between the aforementioned Porsche and the R18 e-Tron hybrid quattro is that the latter is considered a mild hybrid, using a petrol engine along with electricity.

Notice all the high pressure relief work on the body panels

Since the car uses a heavy hybrid system, Audi went and designed the race car’s gearbox using carbon fiber composite housing, alleviating some of the weight brought about by the complicated drivetrain.

Is this “Green Speed ?”

Tim Conway, Contributor

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