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MIRA AND MG DEBUT ‘HYBRID PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT’ AT KEY MOTORSPORT EVENT

An exciting new technology concept was unveiled at the Motorsport Industry Association’s ‘Clean Racing Conference’, by Rob Oldaker, product development director, MG Rover Group and John Wood, managing director, MIRA. The ‘Hybrid Performance Development’ is a petrol/electric powered MG TF featuring a combined output of 200Ps deployed through its four road wheels. MIRA engineers in consultation with MG Rover Group have produced the ‘200 HPD’ specification, derived from the popular MG TF sports car, producing functional and environmental benefits, with a wider performance capability potential for motorsport.

Rob Oldaker, commented: "The 200 HPD is the culmination of two talented Midlands-based companies, bringing together their expertise to create this MG car, that perfectly illustrates the vision of the Clean Racing Conference."

John Wood, added: "We conceived the idea to produce an enhanced performance car that anticipated environmental requirements, while expanding today’s sports car driving experience. The car achieves this with ‘responsible performance’ where the innovative hybrid solution sharpens acceleration, at no expense in tailpipe emissions, yet also offers customer benefits like all-wheel-drive traction and the low-speed clutchless operation of ‘City mode’."

RESPONSIBLE PERFORMANCE

The holistic approach combines electric traction with aerodynamic advances, driving the perception of hybrid cars forward into the realms of driving excitement. Motorsport has a renowned capacity for efficient development of components and systems while stimulating the public’s interest. This is a new opportunity for the industry to accelerate both technical progress and customer excitement of these hybrid technologies that are capable of giving a competitive edge with green credentials.

Enhancing the performance of an existing MG TF without increasing the environmental impact was the aim of the project undertaken through a partnership between MG Rover Group and MIRA. The initial development vehicle - the MG TF 200 HPD - reduces the existing 0-60 time from 6.9 to sub-6 seconds, without increasing tailpipe emissions or fuel consumption, yet also offers a range of other benefits high on the customer wish list, such as enhanced traction through all wheel drive and the low speed clutchless option of ‘City mode’.

Working in consultation with MG Rover Group, engineers at MIRA designed and developed a parallel hybrid drivetrain to supplement the existing rear wheel drive 160Ps MG TF, using an electric motor to drive the front wheels. The additional power of the electric motor results in a 25% increase to 200Ps, greatly enhancing the sprint acceleration of the MG TF. The motor, innovatively combined with Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), extends opportunities for advanced all wheel drive active torque distribution.

The application of hybrid technologies has been holistic, with implications far beyond the motive power. New approaches have been required for vehicle aerodynamics, styling, cooling efficiency and weight distribution as a consequence of the hybrid specification. The team took advantage of the revised package to eliminate front and rear lift, a key element in vehicle stability, and to reduce drag by 7%, benefiting emissions and fuel economy. In this development car, the addition of the front electric drive train and battery pack combine to produce an ideal 50/50 weight distribution.

"MG Rover Group anticipates the potential of using hybrid technology to boost performance responsibly and to offer a range of additional functional benefits that include all wheel drive and city mode capability," says Rob Oldaker, product development director.

MIRA’s advanced design, control and simulation techniques have configured the system so that the hybrid system re-charges during part throttle cruising, to deliver clean, additional performance when the driver needs it most. One potential motorsport application envisaged could use the battery pack to provide a finite number of boosted acceleration cycles, allowing evenly matched drivers to overtake and stimulate spectator appeal.

Additional virtues of the hybridisation are the continuous ‘hotshift’ acceleration capability and the ‘City mode’ where the electric drive is used independently of the engine and gearbox for relaxed driving in urban areas.

MG Rover Group and MIRA expect that, once developed, the technologies will move onto the manufacturing design feasibility stage. Indeed, the partnership, which includes MG Rover Group, MIRA Ltd and Powertrain Ltd , has just been awarded a contract by HM Government’s Energy Saving Trust to develop these technologies into production viable passenger cars.

"Consumers are demanding cleaner cars," concludes John Wood of MIRA, "and the MG TF 200 HPD technology offers motorsport the opportunity to both increase consumer excitement and accelerate technical progress."

 MG TF 200 HPD

Technical Specification

  • K Series 160Ps, 1.8-litre VVC petrol engine driving rear wheels
  • 40Ps high-output electric motor driving front wheels, through CVT drive train
  • Engine driven generator
  • Hawker SBS8 battery pack delivers 72v at 400 amps
  • BRUSA BRMD 506 motor controller
  • Mathworks XPC vehicle management
  • Aerodynamic Cd 0.32, zero front & rear lift
  • 50 / 50 weight distribution

Performance summary

  • Sprint power increased from 160 to 200Ps
  • 0-60mph time improved from 6.9 to sub 6.0 seconds
  • All wheel drive traction, maximum tractive effort and ‘low mu’ handling
  • ‘Hotshift’ delivers continuous power through front wheels during gear changes
  • ‘City mode’ feature enables relaxed urban motoring using electric front drivetrain

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