The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Hybrid Le Mans-series race car, competing in the top LMP1 class consisting of the fastest cars to enter the storied endurance road racing series, showcases an exciting hybrid racing powertrain that could once again revolutionize the way Le Mans series cars are produced and run.
Key to the hybrid technology used in the new Peugeot 908 is a small regenerative hybrid motor and 10 battery packs, stored within the cabin and under the floor, allowing the Peugeot 908 to either run using consistently less fuel or go into push-button "boost" mode, allowing the driver up to 20 seconds per lap with an extra 80 electric motor-powered horsepower on tap for passing maneuvers.
Like a Toyota Prius and other boring full-hybrid passenger cars, kinetic energy created during braking is pumped through the powertrain and stored within the batteries. Much different, though, is the Peugeot 908's ability to dump all this energy at once, producing a huge boost in horsepower. Is this a new hybrid technology that will soon make its way to road-going sports cars? We can only dream...
The Peugeot Sport 908 HDi FAP LMP1 car is relatively untested, having made its debut right at the end of the 2008 Le Mans-class racing season. Peugeot cars did well this season, though, being the first automaker in several years to give a significant challenge to Audi TDI cars in the top LMP1 class.
Like the Audi R10 cars, the 908 hybrid uses a V12 diesel motor. A successful 2008 racing season proves Audi is not the only automaker to make diesel cars successful in endurance racing.
Peugeot Sport officials have expressed some doubt as to whether the 908 with hybrid technology will be allowed to race in next year's LMP1 class, though for the advancement of the technology and plain old good racing, ALMS and Le Mans racing officials would do well to allow it.
THE PEUGEOT 908 HDi FAP HYBRID
Official Peugeot Press Release
Peugeot Sport presented a 908 HDi FAP equipped with a hybrid power plant at the final round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Silverstone, this weekend.
Peugeot Sport profited from the final round of the 2008 Le Mans Series at Silverstone to unveil a 908 HDi FAP equipped with a hybrid power plant, featuring a kinetic energy recovery system. The 908HY was presented in a new, specific silver-grey livery and will provide a foretaste of what Peugeot's next endurance racing challenger could resemble, although its use will depend on the regulations that will govern LMP 1 cars from 2009.
The 908 HDi FAP's "HY" technology enables a proportion of the kinetic energy produced under braking to be either recovered or stored. In the case of a non-hybrid car, this energy is lost and simply dissipated in the form of heat via the brakes. However, when harnessed, it enables the vehicle's efficiency to be improved in one of two ways:
- Enhanced performance with no increase in the amount of energy consumed, thanks to the combination of the stored mechanical energy and the energy produced by the internal combustion engine
- Reduced fuel consumption for the same level of performance, thanks to the availability of stored mechanical energy
The system featured on this demonstrator comprises three key elements:
- A 60 kW gear-driven electric motor-generator which takes the place of the conventional starter motor
- Batteries which permit recovered energy to be stored in 600 lithium-ion cells divided into 10 battery packs (six in the cockpit instead of the conventional battery and four on the left-hand side of the floor pan)
- An electronic power converter (located in the rear part of the front left wing) which controls the flow of energy between the batteries and the motor-generator
The 908HY can be powered in one of three ways:
- Electric mode only (e.g. in the pit-lane)
- Internal combustion engine only
- A combination of the two
In the course of a lap of Le Mans, for example, the system will recuperate energy for between 20 and 30 seconds. This energy reserve can be used for:
- Either delivering extra power thanks to an additional boost of 60 kW (80 bhp) for approximately 20 seconds per lap, either automatically when re-accelerating or when the driver chooses to make use of it ('push to pass')
- Or to reduce fuel consumption for the equivalent level of performance thanks to the mechanical energy recovered (between three and five per cent)
Michel Barge (Peugeot Sport, Director): "This hybrid 908 HDi FAP is in perfect keeping with the overall mission of our endurance racing programme which covers not only the challenge of competing, of course, but also the fact that as a car manufacturer we can use motor sport as a research and development tool for the Peugeot brand as a whole. After innovating through the use of our HDi FAP technology in competition, running a hybrid car in endurance racing would give Peugeot a chance to gain extremely valuable experience that would benefit the development of production cars. Whether we use this technology or not in 2009 will obviously depend on the details of the new regulations published by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest."