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Renault tabs F1 KERS system for electric car concept

Apr 26, 2013, 10:03 PM EDT

Formula One machines and road cars may look as if they’re worlds apart, but Renault is making an effort to bring those worlds closer together by utilizing the kinetic energy recovery system — or KERS — for its Twizy F1 electric concept car.

A collaboration between RenaultSport’s production car team and RenaultSport’s F1 department (which supplies engines for a number of F1 squads including Red Bull Racing), the Twizy F1 is a lightweight, rear-wheel drive single-seater that, thanks to KERS, has a claimed 0-62 mph acceleration time of 6.0 seconds.

In case you’re new to F1, the KERS system collects the kinetic energy that’s present in the waste heat created by the car under braking and converts it into power that can be used for acceleration. For the Twizy F1, KERS raises the car’s power from 17 horsepower to 97 (although the boost is only available for 14 seconds). After being stored, said energy is activated by a pair of paddles that are on the car’s steering wheel, which is taken directly from the Formula Renault 3.5 racing machines.

The Twizy F1 also boasts a body kit that mimics its Grand Prix brethren, coming complete with front and rear wings, a rear diffuser, and a set of slicks.

“We always said we wanted to create F1-derived technology that was road relevant,” said Jean-Michel Jalinier, RenaultSport F1 president and managing director in a press release. “Hopefully, this car will make a few people smile while also making a serious point…I’m not sure we’ll be seeing many of these cars on our roads, but it does show that the same principles we see on the race track can be filtered down to the road car range – this is just the evil elder brother!”

Renault has attempted to apply F1 technology to a production vehicle before. In 1994, it unleashed the four-passenger Espace F1 concept, which featured a carbon fiber body, six-speed paddle-shift gearbox, and last but not least, an 820-horsepower V10 engine as used in Williams’ 1993 challenger, the FW15C.

The Twizy F1 will make its public debut this weekend at the World Series by Renault event in Aragon, Spain.

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