Christian von Koenigsegg is one of the most inventive and creative automaker chiefs of all time. Just eight months ago, he came up with an idea for his first hybrid supercar, the Regera, though he refuses to call it a hybrid. But unlike every other supercar, this one has no gearbox whatsoever. How the hell does that work?
In the past, Koenigsegg has stated how much he dislikes electric power and hybrid powertrains. The One:1 was designed to compete with hybrid supercars like the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 without any hybrid assistance. It was a giant FU to cars that needed hybrid power to reach new levels of performance.
But then, just eight months ago, Christian had an idea. An idea for how he could utilize electric and internal combustion power that is totally different than any of his competitors on the market and has more similarity to a Honda Accord ( as Car and Driver points out) than a Porsche 918.
Koenigsegg built a car with one gear that uses electric power and an internal combustion engine working in concert to create one of the fastest accelerating cars of all time. This is how it works.
How is it powered?
The Regera uses Koenigsegg's 5.0 liter turbo V8 along with three electric motors. They are powered by a nine-kWh, 620-volt, water-cooled battery pack, which Koenigsegg says is the most power dense battery pack every created for a production car.
The electric motor on the crankshaft makes 215 horsepower (and also acts as a starter motor/generator) while the electric motors on the rear wheels make 241 horsepower each. This also allows for torque vectoring between the rear wheels. Real torque vectoring, not brake actuated.
The batteries and power distribution unit were developed in conjunction with Rimac, makers of Croatia's only (why aren't there more Croatia? Step your game up) electric supercar. The motors were made by YASA, which makes some beautiful pieces of electrical engineering porn. The system makes a total of nearly 700 horsepower, which Koenigsegg says makes it the most powerful of any electric setup in production car history.
It also has a "battery drain mode." Basically, when you are ending your journey, you will tell the Regera where you will be parking the car, at home or a charging station. The Regera will then make sure that the battery is fully drained before it gets to the end point, which means it'll be ready to accept a charge. Very smart. It has a fully electric mode of about 22 miles.
How much total power does it make?
Depending on which fuel is being run, the full system makes at least 1,500 horsepower and at least 1,475 pound feet of torque combined.
The full system weighs about 200 pounds more than a Regera would weigh if it had a 5.0 liter V8 and Koenigsegg's seven-speed gearbox. It has a total weight of 3,589 pounds, and that's wet weight will all fluids and a full tank of fuel.
How fast is it?
All the fast. The Regera can get to its top speed of 249 MPH in less than 20 seconds. To compare, it takes a Porsche 918, another hybrid supercar, 23 seconds to reach 186 MPH. It goes from 93 MPH to 155 MPH in 3.2 seconds. Acceleration from 0 to 60 is the easy sort of acceleration (it does it in 2.8 seconds, which is fast), as you go faster, aero resistance makes acceleration harder.
These are incredible figures.
It has no transmission?
That's not entirely accurate, since it does transmit power to the ground. But it doesn't have a gearbox in the traditional sense. It just has a final drive of 2.85:1, that's it.
How does it actually work?
Ok, get a snack and be ready to concentrate. You'll need to read this a few times, because you might just go crosseyed. I did.
Koenigsegg does not want to call this car a hybrid, because the traditional thinking is that a hybrid is a car that is compromised by weight and other shortcomings in order to make it work. Koenigsegg wanted to get rid of the compromises and make a car that is actually better because it's a hybrid, not worse.
What Koenigsegg has created is a new system that they call Koenigsegg Direct Drive, or KDD for short. Instead of transmitting power through a transmission like a CVT or a dual clutch, the KDD uses one ratio in order to achieve its performance goals. The advantage is that the normal losses from powering a transmission with multiple ratios are cut in half. The weight of that transmission is also cut out of the car, meaning there isn't a weight compromise for the hybrid system.
At speeds less than 30 MPH, the Regera will run on electric power alone. At speeds above 30 MPH, the internal combustion engine comes into play thanks to a hydraulic coupling that acts like a clutch, but only slips a tiny bit. Most of the time it is locked. This sounds similar in concept to a torque converter.
When you keep accelerating, the engine is locked into the geared rear-end and works with the electric power to accelerate to the Regera's 8,250 RPM redline, at which point it's doing 249 MPH.
[Christian von Koenigsegg examines the hybrid drive for the first time. Photo: JF Musial]
The electric motors work in conjunction with the engine to provide torque fill, torque vectoring, and help provide power in the gaps where the engine might long for a gear. In theory, the electric motors have replaced the gearbox.
Under heavy acceleration, the Regera will use all 670 horsepower of the electric motors in conjunction with the at least 800 horsepower of the engine. Under heavy braking or when the engine is acting as a generator, the Regera can take up to 200 horsepower to use for regeneration.
Indeed. It's an entire new way of thinking, though that shouldn't be surprising. Koenigsegg is unburdened by the same restraints us mortals have. Just ask him how he thinks gravity works.