About ElectroKinematic

Motors  |

Batteries  |

Motorsport  |

Road Vehicles

Background of ElectroKinematic Engineering Consultancy

ElectroKinematic Ltd is headed up by CEO Edward Haynes.  Ed started his career at Ford Motor Co and then Cosworth Engineering working on Formula 1 engine design and development. After a stint in engineering consultancy at The Technology Partnership, Ed joined WilliamsF1 in 1997 working on transmissions and the KERS hybrid system.

For over a decade motorsport has acted as a hyper productive arena for fast paced development of performance electric powertrains. Working at WilliamsF1 and with  Williams Advanced Engineering, ElectroKinematic engineers developed the first-generation motors and batteries for F1 KERS and Formula E.

Parallel Hybrid Design Ed Haynes

Significant achievements in projects such as the hybridisation of motorsport will always be a team effort and most successful projects are the product of a team, drawing in the varied skills of different talented people, driven by cooperation and competition, and forged from moments of right first-time genius and the deep learning from the development and correction of near misses and mistakes.

An oft repeated idea is that developments in motorsport filter down to road cars. This was true in the 1920s when W O Bentley roared around the Alps racing his Continental against the Mercedes but is at best overstated recently. Race solutions are too expensive and road development is demonstrably done separately. The motorsport hybridisation project has re-primed this creative pump and the activity of the motorsport technology spin off companies is clear evidence of this.

Despite the ultimate futility of racing petrol burning cars on racetracks around the world, around 500 people will assemble each day at a motorsport facility to perform highly skilled, high value-added work to pump wages into the local and national economy. A few race cars are trucked in and out of the factory gate through the year with the resulting product a digital content consumed by ½ billion people sitting on their sofas. There is little need for any guilt about the association between a motorsport career and carbon emission. Despite this there is a huge opportunity to offset further by distributing the valuable knowledge generated about electric powertrains within motorsport. High power density motors, batteries, and controllers are the building blocks of a carbon free transport system.

Automotive Electrification Design Ed Haynes
Figure 1 With Michael Schumacher and the Cosworth 3.5 litre EC V8 team before his first championship season 1994

Powertrain Design - Seamless Shifting

When I joined Williams Grand Prix Engineering in the late 90s the gearshift had been automated for a few years and the gearshift time had been tuned downwards and stabilised at an average of 30 milli seconds per shift. I was given the task of improving it further and it soon became clear that to make progress a step change in the technology was required. A twin clutch arrangement appeared to be the route to achieve this and in pursuit of this idea I ended up in a meeting at Ricardo’s transmission facility in Leamington together with some talented engineers from a small company called Midlands Transmission Associates who were developing the twin clutch Bugatti Veyron gearbox with Ricardo. The MTA guys made a passing comment on how drag racers change gear using simultaneous gear engagement and overrun clutches.
Parallel Hybrid Design Ed Haynes
Figure 2 Typical F1 gear cluster

I made various attempts to implement the drag racing shifting principle without losing engine braking, which is important on an F1 car, until the Mark 3 version ran successfully on the dyno. However, on disassembly after the test it became clear that the clever part of the mechanism was all welded together and the overall system still worked: the heart of the beautifully simple modern F1 seamless shift was born. With the advent of digital TV when the system was run at a test by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2001 McLaren were able to analyse the acoustic traces and copy the system. Crucially they chose a twin selector barrel version rather than a single barrel hysteresis track which acted as the final piece of the puzzle for a robust raceable solution. 

During the system development Frank wheeled himself up to my desk in the design office and offered me £1million if I could complete the system within a month. I worked like hell, failed to complete the project within a month and added another confirmation to Frank’s status as the ultimate motorsport businessman.

When the WilliamsF1 system was complete, including a dusted off system curiously named ‘dog windowing’ originally invented at WilliamsF1 a few years before by Dave Clarke, there was a wonderful moment when we were sitting in the Toyota engine dyno control room. A fantastic team had assembled with Dave Walker writing code, Alex Thevenot and Nick Rohart processing data, and Steve Pieri rebuilding the gearbox. It felt like a Mark Zuckerberg style hack session as everyone furiously piled in ideas for the last few fixes. I have never before or since felt such a heighten sense of teamwork. Finally, when everything was in place the shift time figure came up on the screen…minus 1 millisecond. We had reversed time! In fact, gearshift times should be measured as a lost velocity and because the gearshift was so efficient the reduction in engine speed had fed kinetic energy into the car speed and the vehicle was traveling faster rather than slower due to the shift and thus reporting as a negative shift time.

The Toyota engineers gazed at our shift traces and as the penny dropped one of them said, ‘You had better call Luca Marmori’. Luca was given a demonstration and Toyota bought the system for their own F1 car. The lap time benefit was on average 0.3 seconds per lap, which was at the time was about the same as the contribution of a year’s F1 engine development at a cost of around £50million. The system wasn’t cheap, but it was a good deal.

As a foot note, while we were finishing the twin barrel system, we designed, developed and ran a twin clutch solution in 2006. It was awful! As Adrian Newey would probably attest from 2003, never try to run a twin clutch system at 19000rpm with dog clutches on the ratios.

The key point of the story is that, as well as moments of individual brilliance, the clear and crucial role that teamwork played, even across different race teams in the development and success of the project.

Parallel Hybrid Design - KERS

In 2006 Formula 1 signed up to introduce KERS parallel hybrid technology. The original aim was not to save the planet but to keep Honda and Toyota in Formula 1. Both companies had realised that they were unlikely to win an F1 title and needed to reap additional benefit from their involvement in Formula 1 by promoting their global lead in hybrid automotive technology.

ElectroKinematic engineers took on the project and built up Williams electric powertrain capability from zero to race ready, designing and developing the 2011 KERS motor and battery sub-assembly. In 2012 the motor was reworked to fit onto the Renault engine, and the inverter was integrated more completely into a battery assembly with improved cooling.

Figure 2 Typical F1 KERS assembly and FW34 Fitted running with KERS system

In the end I drew every component of the 2011 KERS motor and battery sub. Mark Duignan joined me to draw the composite case and Steve’s team drew the inverter. In 2012 Chris Kirk reworked the motor to fit onto our new Renault engine, Peter Grant joined the mechanical team to design a much nicer integrated inverter, and I reworked the battery to improve the cooling. 

Despite some interesting times such as when we over charged tested a battery in the yard and the exhaust jet from the intentional lithium fire was able to lift the 25kg battery off the ground, this chapter perhaps makes a less interesting story. My objective, in the age of LinkedIn when everyone seems driven to claim to be acting as the CEO or CTO, is to get across my role in the team and what I think were my strong contributions of driving the project along, backing the right technology in the early stages, mastering the cooling and rotor dynamic challenges, identify suppliers for the rotor and stator and getting the parts drawn, built and on the dyno.

Motorsport Electrification Design - Flywheel Technology

In the early stages of motorsport hybrid development there was a hot debate on whether to use chemical batteries or a mechanical flywheel as the energy store. In the end batteries won the argument but for F1 KERS the 2 options were evenly matched. WilliamsF1 purchased a flywheel technology spawned out of Urenco, and ElectroKinematic engineers worked on the early stages of the project setting up the bearing system and designing several test and measurement and systems. It became clear that the flywheel would not be ready for the launch of KERS in F1, so the technology was deployed with Porsche and Audi in endurance racing to take several Le Mans wins. The technology was eventually bought by GKN and deployed in hybrid buses around the UK.

Figure 4 Porsche and Audi flywheel hybrids

Figure 5 Implementation of Williams flywheel technology in a London bus

Automotive Electrification Development - Linear Motors

Away from motorsport, ElectroKinematic worked with start-up Libertine FPE Ltd to deploy the knowledge and techniques developed during the KERS project on a high efficiency engine for a hybrid vehicle road vehicle.

Once an ultra-performance system has been developed for a high value application such as motorsport, it will often be too expensive to use the technology in consumer targeted products. However, with some redesign there is often an opportunity to strip out cost and keep the majority of performance by maintaining the basic DNA of the solution in a lower cost form.

Series Hybrid Development Ed Haynes

Figure 6 Libertine FPW Linear motor

A high force density linear motor technology was developed to act as the heart of a free piston hybrid IC engine. The system was sold to Petronas’ engine technology division in Malaysia and a German based hybrid engine developer. In 2021 Libertine Holdings PLC was floated on the AIM market.

Motorsport Electrification Development - Formula E

After WilliamsF1 adopted the Mercedes 2nd generation ERS technology as part of a new engine deal, ElectroKinematic was contracted by Williams Advanced Engineering to re-establish motor development for the season 5 Gen 2 Jaguar Formula E

Figure 7 Jaguar Gen 2 Formula E car

The first iteration of the motor was an interesting exercise in risk limitation creating a simple upscaled 250kW version of the F1 KERS motor which powered Jaguar to their first Formula E win in 2019. On the back of this success the team was strengthened with additional personnel, and we kicked off a more ambitious 300kW upgrade for Season 7, narrowly missing out on the championship in the last race of 2021.

Automotive Electrification Development - AB Dynamics

Another early sale of the Libertine motor technology was to AB Dynamics for use in an axle level noise transmission tuning rig. Automotive OEMs expend huge effort eliminating road noise in the passenger compartment of their cars and with the rise of electric vehicles, without the engine note to mask the problem, this becomes an even more expensive challenge.

Automotive Electrification Development Ed Haynes

The ANVH250 rig offers a rigorous tool to develop low noise transmission axle systems that the OEM can be confident will function correctly before they meet the chassis in the vehicle development process.

ElectroKinematic engineers were contracted by AB Dynamics to help in getting the ANVH250 rig to fruition. A sale to a major OEM was made and in 2020 the rig won Development Tool of the Year at the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.


Battery Technology Development - Endurance Racing Batteries

A recent project for ElectroKinematic has been a return battery design, developing a race battery at Williams Advanced Engineering for the new LMDH Le Mans Daytona Hybrid endurance racing category to be used by Porsche, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Honda and Alpine from 2022 onwards.

The key aspect of the project was to take the advanced battery technology developed at Williams Advanced Engineering since 2014 and feed back in the knowledge acquired during the F1 KERS project on how to make a battery live next to a noisy race engine.

Figure 8 LMDH battery and the Porsche LMDH race car

Engineering philosophy and Offering

There are different ways to approach engineering mainly defined by an attitude to risk and thoroughness of process which will strongly influence speed of progress. Sometimes it is obvious: if you plan to go to the moon, you want to check everything very thoroughly. If you are going racing, there will be times when you need to show some fast progress, based on experience and fine judgement, before the sponsors walk away. Between these extremes there are many choices on how to proceed.

Here is a blog ElectroKinematic CEO, Edward Haynes, wrote for LinkedIn.