Volvo has completed testing of new kinetic flywheel technology that the brand claims can improve fuel economy by up to 25 percent.
“The testing of this complete experimental system for kinetic energy recovery was carried out during 2012,” says Derek Crabb, VP of Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group. “The results show that this technology combined with a four-cylinder turbo engine has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 per cent compared with a six-cylinder turbo engine at a comparable performance level,” said Crabb.
The system is known as Flywheel Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), and is fitted to the rear axle to capture the power of the car when under braking. When the brakes are used, the combustion engine is shut off and a carbon-fiber flywheel is spun at up to 60,000 rpm in a vacuum to reduce friction. The power generated is then transferred back to drive axle when the driver accelerates using a special transmission.
“The flywheel’s stored energy is sufficient to power the car for short periods. This has a major impact on fuel consumption. Our calculations indicate that it will be possible to turn off the combustion engine about half the time when driving according to the official New European Driving Cycle,” explains Derek Crabb.
The setup is especially efficient in the city, or when the vehicle is constantly starting and stopping. When operated in conjunction with the combustion engine, the KERS system can also boost max hp by about 80, shaving seconds off any car’s 0-60 mph time.
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