CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?,

CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?, - Hello bro Auto, On this article with title CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?,, we have prepared this article well for you to read and take the information in it. hopefully the contents of the post Article AUTOMOTIVE, Article CAR, Article TRICK, what we write you can understand. all right, have a nice reading.

Title : CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?,
link : CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?,

Related articles

CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?,


The past few days have been a bit bonkers for anyone following what’s going on in the world of motorsport. Take Formula 1 first: Romain Grosjean truly cheated death on Sunday and we’re all still recovering emotionally; Lewis Hamilton has contracted COVID-19; George Russell is getting temporarily promoted to Mercedes in his place (with Jack Aitken filling in at Williams in the meantime); Michael Schumacher’s son will ascend to F1 with HAAS, but only after Emerson Fittipaldi’s grandson has driven in Grosjean’s place for this weekend while the burnt Frenchman recovers… all these bombshells and it’s only Wednesday!

However, it’s not just within the 'Piranha Club' that interesting movements are afoot. Formula E’s pre-season testing has been going on this week in Valencia, and two significant announcements have landed from the electric single-seater series: Audi and BMW will both be pulling out of the championship at the end of the coming season.

BMW's Formula E car, yesterday

BMW’s withdrawal, announced this very evening in the wake of it also leaving DTM, was accompanied by the Bavarian behemoth commenting that “when it comes to the development of e-drivetrains, BMW Group has essentially exhausted the opportunities for this form of technology transfer.” 

This suggests that the tech allowed in Formula E (which isn’t as extreme as it could be, in a world of 2000hp electric hypercars, so as to control costs and keep it relatively accessible) is becoming too much of a limiting factor for car companies using motorsport to learn how to develop better road cars – in this case electric ones. BMW went on to say that “as the strategic focus of BMW Group is shifting within the field of e-mobility, we will now concentrate on a model offensive and series production in large quantities with [EV powertrains].”

The retired Volkswagen ID.R electric hillclimb car, yesterday

What’s especially interesting about the second part of that, is that it sounds as if they’re going to redistribute their talented engineers from the Formula E project elsewhere within the company to aid the development or production of those electric road cars – which is exactly the reasoning behind yet another significant announcement this week: that Volkswagen Motorsport is to cease all its factory racing programmes altogether, focusing wholeheartedly on bringing electric personal transportation to the masses.

Audi will withdraw its factory Formula E team, but continue supplying motors to customer teams

With all that in mind, though, let’s now circle back to Audi. Audi has been an integral part of the wider Volkswagen Automotive Group (VAG) for a long time, but unlike the parent brand its Formula E exit isn’t signalling a withdrawal from motorsport altogether. Instead – and seemingly of its own volition – it’s changing tack to focus on a new Dakar Rally project using an extended-range electric rally raid buggy (combining battery-electric drive with a small TFSI petrol engine acting as an onboard charger).

Alongside this, it is also returning to top-level endurance racing, which is very exciting. Having defined and dominated the LMP1 era of sports prototype racing, winning the Le Mans 24h thirteen times in seventeen years including maiden wins for diesel and e-hybrid power, Audi will soon enter the new ‘LMDh’ category that comprises half of a two-pronged system to replace LMP1 globally from next year onwards.

Some IMSA DPi cars, yesterday

Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) is a development of the American IMSA series’ current 'DPi' regulations that involve modifying and restyling a third party-supplied LMP2 chassis which is then powered by a manufacturer’s own engine (currently Mazda, Cadillac [GM] and Acura [Honda] race DPi cars in partnership with specialist LMP chassis builders and top-tier customer teams).

From 2022, LMDh will advance this concept in part by introducing a standardised electric energy recovery system (ERS) comprising a battery supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering and an electric motor supplied by Bosch. This set of rules allows the fiddly stuff that casual race fans aren’t overly bothered about to be sorted out in a somewhat quicker and less expensive way, while the looks and sounds (along with star factory drivers) come from the car manufacturers themselves. It’s highly interesting that Audi has chosen this route instead of the other one, which is the FIA World Endurance Championship’s new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) category. Are there enough acronyms for you to keep track of yet, by the way?

The 2019 Toyota GR Super Sport concept hypercar, yesterday

WEC LMH allows car manufacturers (OEMs, you might call them) a bespoke chassis with significantly more freedom around aerodynamics, and seemingly the opportunity to develop an ERS in-house for a wholly integrated hybrid powertrain of the kind we saw in the last few years of LMP1. One assumes it is also, accordingly, that much more expensive. But, tantalisingly, it does seem to bring with it the likelihood of GT1-esque ‘street versions’ if the Toyota GR Super Sportconcept car, ByKolles PMC LMH CAD renderings and Glickenhausgrand claim generator are to be taken seriously (sidenote: Aston Martin was initially building a V12 Valkyrie LMH for 2021, but then underwent a change in financial health, change of leadership and change of plans, so now it’ll run/brand the Stroll’s Plaything Formula 1 Team Powered by AMG, as it were, instead).

In any case, it was recently agreed that these more freely developed world championship machines would be of the same minimum weight and peak system horsepower as the cheaper and more standardised LMDh cars, and that this convergence of regulations will allow the two different recipes of prototype racer to compete directly against each other at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Some Audis that won Le Mans a few years ago, yesterday

So, given that Audi spent the first 17% of the 21st century proving that it is well capable of building all-conquering endurance racers from scratch by itself – and had an updated R18 ready to go before Dieselgate forced their exit – why go the quick ‘n’ easy route this time instead? Well, it seems their main engineering focus will be on the Dakar entry, as that project appears to be fully in-house. Furthermore, if the idea of dressing up a third party chassis in your own house style and attaching a hot road car engine to a third party ERS makes the venture sound more superficial and marketing-driven, then the related paragraph of their press release backs up this mentality – specifically the lines “we have our customers’ wishes in mind as much as the company’s future strategy” and “the most important message for our fans is that motorsport will continue to play an important role at Audi.”

So yes, apparently they’re doing it as much to please all the road car customers who loved the R8, R10 TDI, R15 TDI and R18 e-tron quattro so much as for any other reason, by that logic at least. Not that I’m complaining! No doubt they loved those cars for themselves too, which surely helps.

Some Audi plug-in hybrids, yesterday

Perhaps, and I only speculate here, the halting of VW Motorsport has allowed Audi the freedom of movement to make these decisions without being micromanaged from above. But either way, the decision to leave a battery-only series and create two different hybrid racecars instead – one with an e-boosted engine and one with an engine-boosted e-drive – appears to more closely align with the present and near future of their road cars. Yes, we’re about to see the ‘baby Taycan’ all-electric Audi e-Tron GT arrive in production form and their learnings from Formula E have doubtless informed that car’s development and calibration, but the rest of their current range (bar an enormous e-SUV) still in some way relies on the combustion of liquid fuel.

The Audi electric Dakar buggy of tomorrow, yesterday

The Dakar buggy, whose engine merely supplements a battery-dependent drive system, could broadly be described as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The 2020s look to be both the biggest and in some places the last decade of this stepping-stone arrangement of technology, as the European automotive industry faces the double whammy of extremely strict fleet-average CO2 emissions from next year onwards, and the increasing number of governments planning to enforce wholesale bans on sales of fuel-burning new cars from the 2030s. Both of those mean that the sooner you ‘electrify’ your range of road cars through hybridisation and/or an electric-only version (see the Peugeot 208 model range, for instance, which offers both), the better… if people buy them.

However, while both battery tech and charging infrastructure are getting better and better with each year, or faster even, it remains the case that going all-electric still isn’t the best solution for every possible use case – and for people who can’t charge at home, who do long motorway journeys regularly, or who simply can’t afford an invariably expensive new e-car, it still isn’t sufficiently practical or viable (unless you go out of your own way to make it work, which most people won't). The issue of price is only getting more worrying the more we hear that the cost of battery tech is making low-end compact city cars ever harder to justify as a business case, given that the profit margins are vanishingly small already. There are only so many second-hand Renault Zoes to go around, after all.

A photo from Reddit, yesterday

For ‘legacy’ car manufacturers who have been building combustion cars since the 20th century and recognise that pure EVs still only represent a small (albeit rapidly growing) portion of overall car sales globally, that means that hybrids are the way to go until those government bans arrive – unless one is prepared to abruptly wipe out everything related to petrol and diesel engines you’ve ever had and reboot the entire business as an EV ‘startup’ of sorts, which… well, suffice to say nobody’s doing that. 

To bring all this observation back to Audi Sport, it means that there is an argument to be made for there being greater potential for ‘technology transfer’ in the (very) short term through hybrid racing. But only for the next five or ten years, right? After that, the combustion engine will finally be extinguished.

… Or will it?
Enter Porsche.

A Porsche 911 (991) GT3 RS fuel filler opening, yesterday

Porsche, also a part of VAG, mimicked Audi in quitting LMP1 in order to enter Formula E as a factory team a couple of years ago (it also canned a Formula 1 engine project, but I’ll not go there now), and as it stands they appear to still be committing to that. However, on this day of endless news, they released a press statement that seemingly flies in the face of any grand vision of a battery-powered future. It begins as follows (emphasis mine):

Porsche, Siemens Energy and a lineup of international companies are developing and implementing a pilot project in Chile that is expected to yield the world’s first integrated, commercial, industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral fuels (eFuels).”

Now, synthetic fuel has been around for a long time and, in terms of adopting new propulsion methods, has the enormous advantage that it can be distributed in exactly the same way as petrol and diesel, into the same pumps. But you haven’t ever filled a car up with the stuff yourself for a few reasons. Firstly, for there to be any point in making a zero-greenhouse fuel, the processes involved in creating it must themselves be carbon neutral. Secondly, they’re currently estimated to be over four times as expensive at the pump compared to something like E85 biofuel (according to this useful Evo article). Thirdly, some argue that if you have an abundance of green energy, using it to convert chemicals into liquid fuel is less efficient than just putting it straight into a battery (so says Mercedes-Benz’s R&D boss, anyway).

A generic photo of some American traffic, yesterday

However, while that third argument might hold for the cars you’re about to make, it doesn’t answer for the cars that have already been made. Bosch, which has also been researching e-fuel, reckons half of the cars that will be on the road in 2030 are on the road right now, while discussions which followed the British government’s move to ban combustion-engine sales by that year have also included pointing out the need to ‘decarbonise’ the cars that are already in use, hybrid or not. 

This is where the e-fuel concept comes into the bigger picture, as well as for applications such as long-range aeroplanes, container ships (fun fact, the international shipping industry has about the same carbon footprint as Germany and has largely relied on much dirtier fuel than cars) and large trucks for which batteries that provide equal range to what’s possible with fossil fuels would be infeasibly large and heavy and expensive. Not to mention the accompanying demand for the mined materials which go into said batteries.

A 3D image of an e-fuel production plant, yesterday

Annoyingly though, before you get excited by the dream of pouring guilt-free fuel into a 911 GT3 Touring, it’s pretty difficult to attach any kind of clear and obvious timeline to that dream becoming a genuine reality for us all. Yes, Porsche talks about getting some made by 2022 and increasing production tenfold by 2026, but these are just projections for a facility that it seems isn’t up and running yet. Audi, ironically, produced its own e-diesel a few years ago and started running a limited number of its cars on the stuff, only for that whole experiment to go quiet after 2018. Parent company VW previously stated a desire to develop e-fuels yet is demonstrably throwing its seismic weight behind battery power more and more. 

Porsche has reportedly chosen to have a go at e-fuel off its own back, rather than as an order from above. Perhaps it wants to save the flat-six engines that have been core to its identity for so long and allow them to coexist alongside the likes of the award winning Taycan. But it looks from the outside like, unless Porsche and Siemens have made a necessary breakthrough, while e-fuel may be tantalisingly close it also seems to still not truly be here yet.

The Hyundai HDC-6 Neptune concept fuel cell truck, yesterday

In the meantime, those of us who love the diverse characters and more involving driving experiences of different combustion engines can only cross our fingers. The big signal here is that despite current messaging, the future of the automobile is not a one-dimensional future where batteries are the only option (I haven’t even approached the other industry push for hydrogen fuel cell trucks, especially by Hyundai). Hopefully one day, hydrogen and e-fuel won’t be perpetual visions of the future, but finally become factors of the present once and for all.

Until then, we can only expect more and more petrol-electric hybrids before 2030 – on the road and on the track.

Such is the article CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?,

That's all the articles CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?, this time, hopefully it can be of benefit to all of you. well, see you in another article post.

You are now reading the article CAR: Maybe It’s Not (Just) About Batteries After All?, with the link address

Iklan Atas Artikel

Iklan Tengah Artikel 1

Iklan Tengah Artikel 2

Iklan Bawah Artikel