TG meets the mighty Audi R18 e-tron
Up close in testing with this year’s Le Mans pretender
Posted: 11 Jun 2014
TG’s access to Audi’s test session revealed something else interesting. The team has gone back on its initial decision to run the most powerful 8MJ hybrid system, something they initially publicised when launching this wonderfully Sith-looking R18 e-tron quattro.
Strap on for some tech. We were initially told that there’d be a mid-mounted V6 diesel engine powering the rear wheels of the black beast, with a flywheel that would store braking energy from the front axle and reapply it via a motor-generator-unit. They’d also utilise a second hybrid system: the V6’s turbo would be linked to a clever electrical machine that convert the thermal energy of the exhaust gas into electric energy. This energy would also be stored in the flywheel, so whenever the car accelerated the extra power could flow back to the front wheels or to the electric turbo. But not anymore.
“We have been testing getting energy from exhaust gases as well as the brakes,” Dr Ullrich revealed. “But in the end the risks have been better than the reward.”
Instead, Dr. Ullrich believes that just retrieving energy from the brakes, and using the lowest 2MJ system, is the way forward. Going into a bigger megajoule class – as Porsche will be doing – will add crippling weight which will be difficult to package effectively.