Drifting Will Recharge Your Mercedes AMG Hybrid's Battery

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Screenshot: Mercedes

You’ve heard of regenerative braking in electric vehicles—you know, how the battery recovers some energy every time you use the brakes—but I have a feeling you’re all going to love the new mid-trip charging solution Mercedes has developed for its AMG Hybrid: drifting.

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The company kept that little Easter egg hidden on the initial release of the its AMG hybrid line that has drawn inspiration from Formula One technology. You can check it out in the hybrid strategy section of a new video from Mercedes. The regenerative drifting bit comes in at 12:17, but the whole video is really cool if you've had some unanswered questions about the tech:

It’s important to note here that we’re still not totally clear on all the details of how, exactly, this technology works. Or any of the hybrid technology being introduced to these cars, for that matter. Mercedes has kept it all under wraps for the time being, instead choosing to release a few tidbits of information at a time. So, we’re going off of what the fellas in the video are chatting about and pairing it with the information in Merc’s initial press releases.

One Easter egg out of the software development: when drifting, you can also recuperate,” said Jochen Schmitz, a hybrid strategy developer at Mercedes.We use the electric system to slow down or take the load out of the ICE, putting it into the battery. And then, when the slippery condition is over, the ICE is already at full load and you can accelerate much faster.”

So, you can recharge while drifting or while losing a little bit of control in other ways.

Of course, the specifics on how that’s going to work—including all the technology and Mercedes-specific systems involved—is still unclear. Which you can probably grasp by the fact that Mercedes put out a whole entire Q&A-style video to clear up some of the most complex bits of tech. But the whole concept? Pretty damn cool.

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VZSpyder

Stating the “recharge while drifting” thing in another way that might help people understand it better:

Let’s take the Mercedes AMG GT-R as an example, which has a knob you can turn to set the traction control to control the angle of drift it allows. In that case, it regulates power for you with the throttle.

For this “recharge while drifting”, it instead leaves the ICE at full power, and retards it with the electric motor- pulling power away from it and putting it into the batteries. And of course, if more power needs to be pulled than is available to be put into the batteries, they can supplement it with throttle closure as well. And when you’re coming out of the drift, the ICE is still at full power, so there’s no lag.

Very clever!