Infiniti and Renault Sport Formula One collaborate on dual-hybrid recuperation technology

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The Project Black S prototype, a collaboration between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula One Team, features the world’s first dual-hybrid powertrain and is a springboard for high-performance engineering that offers smart energy management and supersport performance from an electrified, motorsport-inspired powertrain.

Based on the Infiniti Q60 sports coupe, Project Black S is an engineering testbed exploring how Renault Sport Formula One Team-inspired dual-hybrid powertrain technology could be deployed in a road car. The Project Black S development prototype represents the maximum level of performance, dynamic capability, effective aerodynamics and intelligent energy management offered by Infiniti.

Moving on from the Geneva 2017 design study of the same name, the Project Black S prototype now boasts developments in weight reduction, aero-effective bodywork, and significant powertrain advancements in the form of an energy recovery system that harvests energy under braking and acceleration.

The VR30 twin-turbocharged V6 engine has been developed to use two heat energy harvesting systems: MGU-H: motor generator unit – heat, which develops electricity under acceleration; and kinetic harvesting system MGU-K: motor generator unit – kinetic, which generates electricity under braking.

Under development specifically for road use, Project Black S is a unique and exciting electrified performance hybrid prototype that features dual-hybrid powertrain technology.

Not only does it harvest kinetic energy under braking, it also harvests heat energy from the engine’s twin-turbo system, making it the first of its kind (technical regulations mean Formula One powertrains harvest heat energy from a single turbocharger).

The testbed vehicle fuses high-performance dual-hybrid technology with the VR30 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine. Its energy recovery system contributes to greater power and torque than the engine upon which it is based. Where the conventional VR30 engine produces 405ps, the dual-hybrid powertrain prototype generates 571ps.

The prototype’s powertrain employs three motor generator units. A single MGU-K unit harvests kinetic energy from braking. The engine’s twin turbochargers are fitted with two MGU-H units, to harvest heat energy from exhaust gases. This enables the powertrain to generate electrical power under both braking and acceleration.

Electrical energy harvested by the three MGUs is stored in a high-rate discharge 4.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located in the rear compartment. As in a Formula One powertrain, the power recovered by the MGUs and stored in the battery pack is deployed in two ways.

Firstly, it acts as an electrically-assisted anti-lag system, spooling up the turbine blades within both e-turbos more quickly and rapidly increasing the amount of air recirculated back into the engine to boost power.

Secondly, energy stored in the battery can be used to power the MGU-K, feeding up to 120kW of additional electric power directly into the drivetrain. The dual-hybrid technology therefore enables a significant increase in performance, for instantaneous, lag-free acceleration.

In the development prototype, the extra electric power is applied to the rear axle through a newly-designed final drive assembly on the rear axle, which integrates the MGU-K.

“In 1977, the Renault RS01 was the first to introduce turbocharging to Formula One – a technology that would define an era for the sport,” said Jérôme Stoll, president of Renault Sport Formula One Team.

“Today, the Renault RS18 uses a dual-hybrid powertrain, honed with Infiniti’s assistance over several years. The Project Black S engineering prototype is the first indication of how cutting-edge motorsport powertrains could be used to create thrilling hybrid cars. Project Black S demonstrates a mutual passion across the [Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi] Alliance in shaping the future of the sports car.”

Infiniti and Renault Sport Formula One collaborate on dual-hybrid recuperation technology

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Sam joined the UKi Media & Events automotive team in 2017, having recently graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in journalism. For the newest addition to the editorial team, stepping into the assistant editor position signalled the start of a career in the subject he studied. In addition to his work on UKi’s automotive titles, Sam also contributes to Stadia, writing content for the magazine and website.

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