Renault Formula One engineers unveil new turbocharged V6 engine

Renault F1 V6 engine

For the 2013 season, Renault powers four Formula One teams: Infiniti Red Bull, Lotus F1, Caterham F1, and Williams F1. And now the French automaker has a new powerplant for the world-class racers: a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6, complete with two electric motors.

Formula One announced that for 2014, the series would be moving away from the normally aspirated V8s it currently runs to smaller, turbocharged V6s, as Formula One innovations often translate into road-going cars for the general public.

Renault is the first to unveil its V6 concept, just ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari. The 1.6-liter turbocharged V6, according to MotorAuthority, produces near 750 horsepower, on par with the V8s of today. Diverging from our expectations, however, the Renault engine includes two electric motors.

Renault F1 V6 render

Right now, F1 cars feature a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) that captures braking energy in the form of electricity or mechanical energy. The electric KERS use an electric motor. The new Renault V6 does much the same. One of the onboard electric motors creates electricity during engine braking, which stores that power in onboard lithium-ion batteries. This energy can be used to boost the gasoline engine on demand, adding an additional 161 horsepower.

Where the Renault motor diverges from the norm is with the second, exhaust-mounted motor. The second motor is attached with the turbocharger. The turbo’s turbines spin in the exhaust flow, which then turn the electric motor, creating electricity. This, too, charges the onboard lithium-ion batteries. Cleverly, the electric motor can also boost the turbo, effectively eliminating turbo lag.

Whether all of the Renault electric motor innovations will be F1 legal, however, is unclear. The FIA might allow it for a season and then change course, like it did in the early days of KERS.

Based upon these innovations from Renault, we cannot wait to see what Ferrari and Mercedes have come up with. Excitingly, the exhaust-mounted electric motor will surely make its way into mass-market car tech of the future.

Automakers are eagerly seeking out any drivetrain and power efficiencies they can get their hands on, as Federally mandated fuel efficiency standards begin to ratchet up.

The additional electric motor tied to the turbocharger turbine could decrease fuel consumption in production cars significantly and not just add additional power boost, as it does in the F1 engine. Many new, fuel-efficient cars feature turbochargers, take the Ford EcoBoost for example.

At present, when not in use, the spinning turbos are allowing energy to pass by that could be harnessed to power the vehicle when the gasoline engine is shut down in the form of electricity.


Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.