HSV ClubSport R8 race car developed with Walkinshaw Racing - Image courtesy of DriveEnlarge Photo
The company has two prototype race cars, one of which is fitted with the technology. The aim is to boost the performance of the car while simultaneously cutting fuel consumption.
Similar to the KERS used in F1, HSV’s system captures wasted brake energy and converts this to electricity. This is then stored in a lightweight lithium-ion battery, though a capacitor-based storage system is also being looked at.
When needed, such as during overtaking, the stored electrical energy can be called on to power a small electric motor that adds an additional burst of energy. This electric motor is usually integrated with the gearbox or directly to the drive shaft, though it’s not clear how the HSV system is configured.
Speaking with Drive, HSV revealed that the prototype race car fitted with the KERS is using technology from Italy’s Magneti Marelli, the same firm that supplies F1 tech to the likes of Ferrari. HSV is also reportedly in talks with a Chinese firm over a low-cost version.
Should the technology prove successful, a version for HSV's road cars could be developed. Of course, testing of the technology by HSV is only in the very early stages, so any production version is likely to be years away still.
In the meantime, we’re likely to see HSV rely on more proven forms of boosting performance without considerably hurting economy, such as forced induction. In fact, the company is believed to be testing a supercharger for its new F-Series range based on the VF Holden Commodore due out next year.