Mercedes-AMG used this week’s 2017 Geneva auto show to divulge a few more details on its upcoming hypercar code-named the Project One.
The car will be rolled out during September’s 2017 Frankfurt auto show as part of AMG’s 50th anniversary celebrations and is a precursor of the new hybrid performance route the Affalterbach tuner is about to embark on. As AMG boss Tobias Moers explained, “Starting the era of electrified powertrains we need a hero car, an icon.”
Moers has previously confirmed that the car’s powertrain will be borrowed from one of the Formula One World Championship-winning Mercedes AMG race cars, and that its peak output will be over 1,000 horsepower. However, the Project One will be different to the F1 car in that it will also feature a pair of electric motors at the front axle to create a “through-the-road” hybrid all-wheel-drive system.
Speaking with Motoring, Moers revealed that each of the front axle electric motors will deliver 120 kilowatts (160 horsepower). These will work in combination with a turbocharged 1.6-liter V-6 driving the rear wheels. Moers also revealed that the engine will drive the wheels via an automated manual, due to the design’s lighter weight and ability to handle high torque loads compared with a dual-clutch transmission. Crucially, the engine and transmission will be structural parts of the car, just like in an F1 car.
Moers also revealed that an additional electric motor will be paired with the V-6 and transmission, just like in the F1 power unit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the Project One will also get the F1 power unit’s turbocharger-mounted electric motor. It will, however, get the F1 car’s split turbocharger, where the turbine and compressor are mounted at separate ends of the longitudinally-mounted engine, with a common shaft running through the engine to connect them. This aids cooling by keeping the hot turbine away from the compressor.
Powering all the electric motors will be a lightweight, high-density rapid-discharge lithium-ion battery. Moers has previously said that a small electric range is possible, something like 15 miles on a full charge.
Mercedes AMG W07 Hybrid 2016 Formula One car power unit
To quell any concerns that Mercedes’ F1 engine will require extensive modifications for use in the Project One, Moers in his interview with Motoring went into detail on just what is required. He revealed that the compression ratio needs to be changed, to meet emissions regulations, though the engine still displaces 1.6 liters. He also said internals like the crankshaft and cylinder heads are now cast instead of machined like in the F1 car. The fuel injection system has also been modified for road car use. For example, the road car’s idle is around 1,200 rpm whereas in the F1 car it’s 4,000 rpm.
Still, this is a highly complex powertrain and thus Moers said the engine will require “some rework” every 31,000 miles. However, given the extremely low miles most hypercars rack up, it’s doubtful this will be an issue with owners.
Finally, Moers also confirmed to Motoring that 275 of the cars will be built and that the starting price is 2.27 million euros (approximately $2.4 million). The first deliveries are due in late 2018 or early the following year—about the same time Aston Martin will start deliveries of its rival Valkyrie hypercar.