Tuesday, March 31, 2009

KERS-less Toyota, an Oxymoron?

The company who brought you the Prius, the most successful name in hybrid technology, can't be bothered to show up to the 2009 F1 grid with a KERS system? What gives?

Toyota's engine chief, Luca Marmorini, feels the system is "primitive" compared to what Toyota already has used in a hybrid Supra racer as well as the street going Prius. Both the Supra HV and the Prius recover energy from all four wheels and the current FIA regulations only allow use of the rear wheels.

While the system may not be the most sophisticated system, doesn't it send the wrong image by selling hybrid technology on the road and critizing it on the track?

Williams, a team powered by Toyota, is bucking convention and developing a flywheel based KERS system. All other teams have chosen to use batteries to store the kinetic energy or forgoe the system entirely.

The image shows what can happen with a battery based KERS system. BMW's crew member was shocked when he touched the steering wheel and sidepod after a test session. Lets hope KERS does not turn into a disaster on par with refueling mishaps we have seen in the past.

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