Formula 1 Racing to Go Hybrid from 2009-2013

It’s not quite the same type of hybrid drive-train you’d see in street vehicles, but in an exciting announcement, Max Mosely of F1 has announced that all cars will become hybrid by 2013, along with other changes to the vehicles.

The hybrid system that will be phased in is known as KERS, which stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System. KERS doesn’t store as much energy as a traditional hybrid system, but it only weighs 55 pounds and the limited energy storage capacity is well suited for Formula-style racing.

The biggest difference between KERS and a regular battery-electric hybrid is that KERS stores recovered waste energy in a rotating flywheel. Instead of converting waste energy into electricity and than back into useful energy again with an electric motor, KERS simply transfers the kinetic energy to a ~5kg flywheel in the F1 car’s transmission. The energy stored in the flywheel can then be used by the driver by pushing a “boost” button.

KERS is particularly exciting for us regular car drivers because the creators have claimed that it is twice as efficient as a standard hybrid system. If this system can be applied to production vehicles, it will be possible to realize huge improvements in fuel economy and pretty respectable reductions in GHG emissions.

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[social_buttons] Source: F1-Live


Benjamin Jones

Benjamin Jones is a student of Dartmouth College and co-founder of and writer at He is double majoring in Japanese and Linguistics, and is most interested in Sociolinguistics and Anthropology in Japan.