ENERGY RECOVERY SYSTEMS
Formerly known as KERS (Kinectic Energy Recovery System) and renamed to ERS (Energy Recovery System) for the new season, these technologies will have a greater role this season and help the race cars to be more energy efficient. The new ERS will consist of two units, one that generates power from braking and another heat-based system that is connected to the turbo and generates power using waste heat from the fast spinning turbos.
The second generator that connects with the turbo operates a small motor that helps to quickly spin the turbo after braking to improve its responsiveness and efficiency. As we mentioned earlier, turbo engines generally suffer from a phenomenon called turbo lag and this motor can help keep the power and torque curve as linear as possible.
The net result of these changes is that the ERS will generate more power and drivers too will be allowed to use them for a longer period of time. Specifically, what this means is that drivers will be able to use ERS to generate around 160hp more power for up to 33 seconds per lap; this compares to the last season where drivers could use KERS to generate an additional 80hp for just 6 seconds per lap. This change will have a profound effect on how races play out as drivers can now call on more additional power and for longer periods of time.
Another consideration is the failure of these energy recovery systems. In the last season, incidents where a car’s KERS failed was not uncommon, but considering they could only be used for 6 seconds a lap, the lost was not that great. For 2014, with ERS generating more power and be able to be deployed for longer periods, failure would reduce the competitiveness of the car to a far greater extent.