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Rabbit Hole: Dark Matter
But not that kind
I start my rabbit hole journey searching for one thing, and it leads to another and yet another. Then, before you know it, I’m so far from where I started, but now I’m curious about five other topics.
I’ve got to start by saying that I know nothing about dark matter beyond what I’ve researched and read online. But because of seeing the mention of dark matter on Twitter the other day, I did some Googling.
Dark matter is a hypothetical form of matter believed to make up 85% of the matter in the universe. It is called "dark" because it does not interact with the electromagnetic field. This means it does not absorb, reflect, or emit light, making it difficult to detect. Dark matter is thought to be abundant in the universe and has strongly influenced its structure and evolution.
Dark matter is responsible for the way galaxies are organized on grand scales. It makes up most of the mass of galaxies and galaxy clusters. Dark matter could be white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes.
Dark matter was initially called "missing matter" because astronomers could not find it by observing the universe in any part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The term dark matter was coined in 1933 by Fritz Zwicky of the California Institute of Technology.
Dark matter makes up 30.1% of the matter-energy composition of the universe. The rest is dark energy (69.4%) and "ordinary" visible matter (0.5%).
All of this is interesting, and I’m into it. However, a different dark matter caught my attention and led me into a world that I know a lot more about.
My kind of dark matter
Just like how dark matter challenges what we know about the universe, this innovative motor challenges the current limits of electric power.
Automaker Koenigsegg, claims this electric motor produces 800 horsepower and 922 lb-ft of torque. That's about 600 kilowatts.
The Dark Matter will debut on the Gemera, and we know the Gemera operates at 800 volts, which means it's going to take 750 amps of current to generate that peak kW figure 😳
The Gemera is the world's first four-seater hypercar and the first four-seater from Koenigsegg.
It features a compact camless three-cylinder engine called the Tiny Friendly Giant (TFG) that weighs only 150 lb. This innovative 1988 cc engine has two turbos and drives the front wheels while charging the batteries. Rated at 590 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, the TFG combines with three electric motors (one for each rear wheel and one on the crankshaft) to produce a total output of 1,700 hp and 2,581 lb-ft of torque.
The Gemera has a top speed of 248 mph, goes 0-62 mph in 1.9 seconds, and has a range of 50 km on batteries alone or 1,000 km in hybrid mode. Its name combines the Swedish words for "give" and "more", signifying the car gives more in terms of performance and efficiency.
The Gemera is exclusive, with production limited to just 300 vehicles worldwide. The starting price is $1.7 million.
So, this system is an incredible hybrid system that reminded me of another kind of hybrid system.
Not just a green tech
Formula 1 teams have been experimenting with hybrid drivetrains since 2007.
The Mercedes-AMG One hypercar uses the same hybrid powertrain as its F1 car. The powertrain includes a turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 engine and four electric motors. The electric motor in the turbocharger is powered by a 90 kW electric motor. This allows for higher torque at low engine speeds. The Mercedes-AMG One is said to produce over 1,000 horsepower and reach top speeds beyond 350 km/h.
F1 cars have not always featured hybrid systems. The sport has changed its standard engine type many times since the 1950s. The three main components that now make up the hybrid power unit were gradually added to the vehicle over several decades.
Other F1-inspired hypercars include:
All roads lead to Ferrari 🤷♂️
I had to stop somewhere and figured I could end my rabbit hole journey when I reached my favorite brand, Ferrari.
The Ferrari 499P means a lot to me, too. The 499P was introduced this year, 50 years after Ferrari last fielded a factory-backed sports prototype. The 499P won the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the #51 car, driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Antonio Giovinazzi, covering 342 laps of the French track.
The 499P is a four-wheel drive car with a hybrid engine and a maximum power of 500 kW to the wheels and weighs at least 1,030 kilos. Its internal combustion engine and Energy Recovery System (ERS) give it a maximum power output of around 700 horsepower.
The 499P is based on a carbon tub developed and built in-house. It combines the experience of Ferrari's GT team with the engineering of its F1 operation.
And so my unplanned expedition through the rabbit hole comes to an end, at least for now. What started as a simple search on dark matter led me on an unexpected path through innovative auto engineering and racing history. While I didn't find all the answers about cosmic dark matter, I did uncover intriguing details about automotive technology. The connections between ideas are sometimes surprising, which is what makes research so enjoyable. There are always more twists and turns to explore, and I look forward to whatever unexpected places my curiosity leads next. The thrill is in the journey.