Infiniti’s Project Black hits the track

Riley Riley

Formula 1 star Nico Hülkenberg has signed off on the F1-inspired Infiniti Project Black S prototype.

The unique high-performance, dual-hybrid powered prototype is a collaboration between Infiniti and the Renault F1 Team.

Hülkenberg gave a thumbs up to the car at Salzburgring in Austria where two prototypes were being put through their paces. 

Infiniti says it will continue to test and validate elements of the Q60-based prototype, with a view to making a decision on its production by the end of the year.

Project Black S prototype has served as a test-bed for development of the new Formula One–inspired powertrain technology.

A key aim has been to explore the potential for new motorsport-inspired electrification technologies and development processes.

The project fuses expertise from road and race track, with its dual-hybrid powertrain, all-new, purpose built brakes, and optimised suspensions — all complemented by the use of advanced lightweight materials throughout the purposeful new bodywork and a motorsport-inspired interior.

The dual-hybrid powertrain technology is derived from Formula One and engineered specifically for road use.

A focused, agile team of designers and engineers from the two technology partners has enabled the rapid development and testing of prototypes.

A test-bed based on the Infiniti Q60 sports coupe and its 300kW VR30 twin-turbo V6 engine, the dual-hybrid system combines supercar performance with smart energy management.

The VR30 engine has been transformed with the creation of two heat-energy harvesting systems (MGU-H: motor generator unit – heat), which develop electricity under acceleration.

Paired with a kinetic harvesting system (MGU-K: motor generator unit – kinetic) that generates electricity under braking and an all-new energy management system, it’s a unique and exciting electrified performance hybrid prototype.

In a similar manner to Renault F1 Team’s R.S.19 racecar, the Project Black S’ smart powertrain stores this energy and discharges it as the driver requires, spooling up the turbochargers instantaneously as the driver opens the throttle, boosting power sent to the rear wheels via the MGU-K over continued periods of acceleration.

Currently, the dual-hybrid powertrain is capable of producing up to 418kW – 40 percent more than the prototype’s donor car, the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400.

Uniquely, it provides sustained and sustainable hybrid performance, delivering electrically assisted acceleration, lap after lap.

The prototype offers drivers complete control over how the powertrain uses this energy, with three Formula One-inspired drive modes – Road, Quali and Race – each altering the way in which the powertrain harvests and discharges power.

Infiniti’s Mike Colleran says there is still work to be done.

“Now we have two completed prototypes we will fully evaluate the production potential of Project Black S,” he said.

“It is still too early to predict the outcome as we need a solid business case, but the latest rounds of testing have proved its unique performance and underlines our pursuit of electrified performance.

“This is an exciting phase of the process. We will consider every element of the development prototypes to establish the feasibility of volume or limited production in future.”


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