Harnessing electrical energy from brakes, known as regenerative braking, is already in use in many hybrid vehicles, and now Audi is looking to build on the idea by collecting energy from the suspension.
The German luxury company is in the advanced stages of developing a suspension system that generates energy which can be used to power the car. Exact details were not divulged, but the system will likely use a small rotating generator unit in the damper to collect power.
“What people don’t realize is that dampers get very hot,” Audi R&D chief Dr Ulrich Hackenberg explained to Auto Express. “Working hard over a bumpy road, the dampers are perhaps 100 to 125 degrees. This energy is wasted as heat into the atmosphere. So, we will replace the suspension with a generator.”
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The power would then be stored in batteries, and could be used to either send power to the wheels or to power the car’s ancillary electrical systems like the stereo and climate control. Either way, this type of setup would make the car more fuel efficient.
It’s not just for green cars however, as Hackenberg hinted that a performance car could use this technology. “Because we can send energy back into the damper, you will have an independently variable suspension. This can [counteract body] roll.”
[Source: Auto Express]
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