1st March 2012. Grove, UK. Williams Hybrid Power (WHP) is pleased to announce an association with Audi Sport to become the hybrid system energy storage supplier for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. WHP’s innovative electric flywheel will be at the heart of the Audi R18 hybrid system for the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans race and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
For the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, WHP has designed an entirely new, ultra-lightweight electric flywheel and associated power electronics and the company has worked closely with Audi engineers to fully integrate its unique electric flywheel into the car. The system will provide 150kW of power and have a top rotor speed of 45,000 rpm. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro using WHP’s system will make its first competitive outing in the six-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps on 5th May.
The defining features of WHP’s flywheel made it the prime energy storage candidate for Audi’s project when compared to other technologies such as batteries, ultra-capacitors or mechanical flywheels. The main benefits of the WHP system are a high power density and correspondingly low mass, high efficiency energy transfer to and from the e-storage, the ability to continuously deep power cycle and an insusceptibility to performance or life degradation over a wide range of operating temperatures. In short, the technology is perfectly suited to the high performance demands of endurance racing.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is recognised as the world’s oldest and highest profile event in endurance racing and is also commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency. Fittingly, the introduction of hybrid systems this season brings a new element of innovation in efficiency to top-flight endurance racing. Audi demonstrates its dedication to innovation in recognising the potential of this technology and aiming to be the first manufacturer to win Le Mans with a hybrid.
Ian Foley, Managing Director of Williams Hybrid Power commented, “To be chosen as a supplier by Audi, the most successful brand in Le Mans’ recent history, is testament to the progress made by Williams Hybrid Power in its relatively short existence. Audi has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans a total of ten times since the year 2000 and we are incredibly proud and honoured to have been chosen to work with them and to have our hard work and technology recognised in this way. Such a high-level motorsport application represents the ultimate proving ground for our electric flywheel technology. This same technology can be used in everyday applications to save fuel and reduce emissions, for instance in city buses, that also require large power flows for short periods of time.”