Mercedes’s Formula One technicians have demonstrated their Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) to the company’s road car engineers – and the conclusion is that the technology has almost no direct relevance to road car applications.
“The Formula One people developed mechanical and electrical systems and came and presented them to us,” said a source within Mercedes' road car engine department.
“The mechanical fly wheel system had absolutely no relevance to road car use, and while the electrical system could be adapted to our needs, it would need to be modified very heavily before it was relevant.
“I don’t believe there is much in common between KERS and our goals on the road car side. It is very interesting technology, but I don’t believe there is a future for it in road car applications.”
However, McLaren's managing director, Anthony Sheriff, stressed that KERS will be beneficial to road car development in other ways.
"How KERS works is irrelevant," said Sheriff. "What's important is that it's pushing the envelope of battery technology to its limits and that has got to be good news."
The McLaren Mercedes Formula One team has run an electrical KERS system this year, and is one of just two squads that has run KERS on both its cars in every race this season.
Rival teams have complained that the systems are too expensive to develop and too heavy to provide a measurable benefit.
The sport’s governing body, the FIA, has persisted with allowing the system, however, saying that it has a relevance to fuel-saving road car technology.
Jaguar is reportedly working with Torotrak to develop a flywheel-based KERS system on its next XJ.