Pure Energy – hybrid may make you think of a green thumb Prius, but 100+ mpg and 1000+ hp are no longer the polar opposites once thought. Not only has hybrid technology shown up in hypercars like the McLaren P1 (image above) or Porsche 918, but motorsports have made a seismic shift away from pure petrol engines this year. Formula 1 racing for example rewrote the rule book for 2014, equipping cars with energy recovery systems scavenging power from both braking (MGU-K / Kinetic) and turbine waste heat (MGU-H / Heat), resulting in a 160 hp power boost. This has shrunk engine size and fuel consumption (now capped to 100kg per race), even while making cars more powerful than in previous years.
Gone are the 18,000 rpm, 2.4L normally aspirated V8 engines we’ve been used to hearing since 2006. In their place are turbocharged 1.6L V6s. […] The MGU-H is connected to the engine’s turbocharger and generates electricity as the turbo’s shaft spins, allowing it to capture another 2 MJ each lap. The MGU-H can also draw some of that power back from the batteries, using it to help spin the turbo (instead of the rear wheels like the MGU-K) to reduce turbo lag.
All this new tech results in cars with the neck snapping instant torque of an electric motor, combined with the insane high-rpm power density of a massive turbo strapped to relatively small engines, and all of that at a fraction of the fuel consumption of previous models. Even better, F1’s relentless technology development competition will rapidly push this tech to other applications, from consumer cars to hybrid rocket engines.