STAYING IN CONTROL (ELECTRONICS)
On the right-hand side of the top picture, at the bottom of the power unit, lies the MGU-K in charge of recovering kinetic energy under braking. With the exhaust pipes off on the image, the device can be easily spotted.
When harvesting energy, the MGU-K sends alternating current to a control electronics (CE) unit via a three-phase electric cable (which is orange for all engine suppliers). This CE box is placed in the left sidepod on the RB12. In the right sidepod, another orange cable connects the MGU-H to its corresponding control electronics unit. Renault has used a similar twin installation on its works R.S.16.
The MGU-H, which recovers energy produced by the turbine shaft, cannot be seen because it sits within the ‘Vee’ of the V6, i.e. in between the two rows of cylinders.
The energy store, or battery, operates on direct current, while both motor generator units (MGUs) are working on three-phase alternating current. An electrical conversion is thus needed between the two, which is one of the roles fulfilled by the CE units.
It is believed that Renault changed its battery provider in 2016, opting for a ‘made in France’ solution that would be more expensive but technically superior and already field-proven by other engine manufacturers.