The Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid
Being an avid Formula 1 fan I’m always happy to see F1 developed technologies making their way into real-life cars, a great recent example of this evolution is the new Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid. Using the KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) the 911 Hybrid gathers and stores energy created under heavy braking in an advanced flywheel that spins up to 40,000 rpm. This allows the twin 60 kilowatt electric motors to fire a surge of power to the front wheels, leaving the 480bhp Boxer V6 to power the rear wheels. Whether this technology will ever be mass produced is an open question, seeing 20% increases in fuel economy by utilizing energy otherwise lost in braking is a great concept though and one we could all use in the days of fluctuating fuel prices. The Porsche will take part in the 2010 GT series in Europe and we can assume that the other manufacturers will be watching closely to see if Porsche gains any notable advantage.
Interestingly the legendary engineer and founder of Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche is widely credited with inventing the hybrid vehicle in 1901. Yes you read that right. 1901. He built a fully functioning 4WD gas/electric hybrid with hub motors, history buffs can click through here for the full Wikipedia account.