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Flywheel Technology By Volvo...

18 March 2015, 12:51 PM

Volvo and Flybird Automotive worked together on a Kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) and developed a prototype – Volvo S60 – integrated with flywheel-based hybrid technology. This Volvo technology or system is claimed to increase 80 horsepower of the vehicle, while reducing the overall fuel consumption by 25%. The KERS system has a steel hub with 13 pounds carbon-fiber rotor that reduces frictional losses by spinning in a vacuum. Unlike the conventional hybrid models, this new technology in automobile help derive power from a flywheel, mounted on rear axle for the vehicle via a continuously variable transmission.

The front axle of the prototype is powered by a 254bhp, 5-cylinder T5 petrol engine, under braking, that transmits power to the KERS system to rotate the flywheel at 60,000rpm. The energy produced by the spinning flywheel, under hard acceleration, is further transmitted to the rear wheels that last up to 10 seconds. The S60 has two programmed modes – a Hybrid mode (standard) and a Performance mode. The former system works as it’s mentioned above; while in the case of latter, a computer controls the power supply of the system and keeps it at 50% less power for instant response. Volvo claims that in Hybrid and Performance modes, fuel consumption will be reduced up to 25% and 30%, respectively.

Volvo also says that flywheel energy can also be used for powering a cruising vehicle. The S60 prototype is claimed to complete 0-62mph sprints in 1.5 seconds. Just like the prototype, the production model will get the front-wheel drive with transmission integrated flywheel KERS. The system’s weight (60kgs) could be reduced further, if it’s integrated directly in the gearbox. This will improve vehicle’s packaging and cut down its costs. The flywheel technology, however, is still in the early development phase. Flybrid Automotive claims that it will cost a quarter or third of the price of developing battery-electric hybrid. The flywheel system integrated Volvo cars might take 4-5 years to make their way to showrooms.

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