Written by IainB
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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

image for Formula One to go all electric by 2020
Electricity powered, but not like Scalectrix

The World's Most Expensive Sport, Formula One, is to go green within ten years, according to Bernie Ecclestone, Grand Prix's rule maker.

"I believe we've taken the gasoline driven vehicle as far as it can go," Ecclestone said. "Most of the innovation in motoring is done in Formula One first. We wouldn't have safety cages, seat belts, ceramic breaks, auto-steer, immobilisers, those little paddle gear sticks and engines capable of cruising at a hundred and fifty miles an hour if it was not for Formula One. It is now time that Formula One grew up and went electric."

According to Ecclestone, by focusing on electric vehicles the same kinds of innovation that have enabled people to die at two hundred miles an hour instead of fifty whilst still having a full tank can now be applied to electric vehicles.

"Current electric cars are bobbins," said Ecclestone. "They can barely do fifty miles on one charge. And that's if you drive it like my Aunt Ethel. We will soon have cars that can do hundreds of miles on one charge and travel at a reasonable speed. Such as a hundred and fifty mile an hour."

Ecclestone is encouraging F1 entrants to start investigating the technologies now, to be ready for 2020.

"There's a few things we can do to eke out battery power," said McLaren boss, Mercedes Ferraro. "We already have regenerative breaking and engine management systems. We're thinking of adding small windmills that recoup more energy the faster a car goes."

Other more esoteric ideas include covering the vehicle with solar panels and piezoelectric materials that generate electricity when deformed, and making the wheels from these materials. Also out on an ideas limb, is generating electricity as the car passes through changing magnetic fields that permeate the earth.

"Unfortunately, that idea only works when the car is travelling in an eastward or westward direction. The field barely alters travelling north or south," said Ferraro. "At the moment, Ecclestone has given us a clean slate to come up with whatever we like, but the car has to be self powered. So the guy who dreamt up putting slots in the track and a connector under the car has been sacked."

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