Print 54 comment(s) - last by shiftypy.. on Jun 6 at 6:11 AM

Volvo KERS system   (Source: Volvo)
KERS system will propel the vehicle from a stop

In the automotive world, a lot of manpower and money is being put into research and development of systems to help boost fuel economy. The most common system today is a hybrid arrangement that uses batteries and electric motors to help propel the vehicle. Another green system is a KERS flywheel like the one used on the Porsche 918 RSR racecar.

The KERS system on the Porsche is activated with a push button to give the car added performance. Volvo is set to start testing its own version of KERS on the public roads of Sweden after receive a grant from the Swedish Energy Agency.

"Our aim is to develop a complete system for kinetic energy recovery. Tests in a Volvo car will get under way in the second half of 2011. This technology has the potential for reducing fuel consumption by up to 20 percent. What is more, it gives the driver an extra horsepower boost, giving a four-cylinder engine acceleration like a six-cylinder unit," relates Derek Crabb, Vice President VCC Powertrain Engineering.

The KERS flywheel that Volvo will use spins at up to 60,000 RPM and gets its energy for the forces created when braking. That rotational inertia is then transferred to the rear wheels via a special transmission. In the Volvo system, the combustion engine will be switched off as soon as braking starts and then the energy in the flywheel will be used to propel the vehicle from a stop and help it accelerate. 

This sort of system will be most effective in stop and go city driving. Volvo estimates that the combustion engine might be able to be turned off as much as half the time. When combined with the combustion engine the energy in the flywheel could add as much as 80hp to the vehicle and increase performance while allowing the car to be more fuel-efficient. 

The Volvo flywheel will be made from carbon fiber instead of steel for maximum efficiency. The flywheel measures a diameter of 20cm and weighs 13 pounds. It also spins in a vacuum to minimize losses. 

"We are not the first manufacturer to test flywheel technology. But nobody else has applied it to the rear axle of a car fitted with a combustion engine driving the front wheels. If the tests and technical development go as planned, we expect cars with flywheel technology to reach the showrooms within a few years," says Derek Crabb. He concludes: "The flywheel technology is relatively cheap. It can be used in a much larger volume of our cars than top-of-the-line technology such as the plug-in hybrid. This means that it has potential to play a major role in our CO2-cutting DRIVe Towards Zero strategy."

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RE: Prepare
By mephit13 on 5/31/2011 1:09:35 PM , Rating: 5
You probably thought that about the Prius as well. So far, I haven't heard a single Prius owner complain about needing a new starter every 6 months, or at all for that matter. Do you need to find fault with every new technology that claims to make cars more environmentally friendly? Do you hate fuel injectors as well?

RE: Prepare
By YashBudini on 5/31/2011 1:12:09 PM , Rating: 3
Do you hate fuel injectors as well?

He lives in a 4 barrel world.

RE: Prepare
By Samus on 6/1/2011 12:45:50 AM , Rating: 3
Every starter I've ever replaced has likely failed from elemental damage, not overheating. The only people who cook their starters are the morons with 4BBLs that continue crankin' with a flooded engine.

Bosch and Denso have been making brushless starters for stop-start technology since its advent a decade ago. I've never heard of one failure, and truthfully, your alternator, steering pump or A/C compressor are far more likely to fail, which is why modern alternators cut off at high RPM, most vehicles manufactured now have electrohydrolic steering (not a mechanical pump, but an electric one) and all electric and most hybrids now have electric A/C compressors, which are super reliable as they're single speed and have no clutch (mostnA/C compressor failures are in fact clutch-related.)

RE: Prepare
By FITCamaro on 5/31/2011 2:21:19 PM , Rating: 1
Even a Prius doesn't shut off the motor every time you brake. Only when you come to a complete stop.

RE: Prepare
By FITCamaro on 5/31/2011 2:22:36 PM , Rating: 1
And to quote.

In the Volvo system, the combustion engine will be switched off as soon as braking starts and then the energy in the flywheel will be used to propel the vehicle from a stop and help it accelerate.

Well what if you're just slowing down for traffic? Then the engine will shut off and has to turn back on when you get back on the gas a few seconds later.

RE: Prepare
By FaaR on 5/31/2011 3:34:52 PM , Rating: 5
What they mean is that fuel supply will be shut off... The crankshaft doesn't neccessarily have to stop. Even if it does, the engine's probably going to be equipped with a start-stop system, integrating a brushless generator/motor on the crank.

I don't see why you think the starter would wear out all the time, if it's not for your general assmule stubbornness when it comes to anything beyond 1968ish technology for ICEs... You know, the rest of the world has moved beyond pushrod hemi engines and those kind of cast iron stove clunkers that you Americans are so irrationally fond of. You're going to have to as well, just get used to the idea now and it'll be easier.

RE: Prepare
By shiftypy on 6/6/2011 6:05:00 AM , Rating: 2
KERS will provide the acceleration when you get back on the gas, so you won't feel delay.

If this idea works, it will provide 80% of hybrid advantages without any disadvantage.

RE: Prepare
By FITCamaro on 5/31/2011 2:24:13 PM , Rating: 1
One more caveat, so what happens if you have a car with a manual transmission? If you do, you probably use your brakes far less than with an automatic. Typically when stopping, I take the car out of gear and just coast to a stop, only using the brakes when necessary.

I doubt you'd generate much energy from a very leisurely braking stop.

RE: Prepare
By sorry dog on 5/31/2011 3:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
take a stroll down to your local Volvo dealer and tell me how many manuals you see...

I bet it's probably 1 or 2 max for the showroom C30 that you'd have to special order to get in an manual.

I was at Toyota dealer last month for parts and just for a grins I told the sales guy I needed to buy a car in the next day or two, but told him I'd only buy a manual. Out a 600 cars on the lot he only had a 4 banger pickup to show me.

Manuals are fast becoming extinct.

RE: Prepare
By DWwolf on 5/31/2011 3:15:53 PM , Rating: 3
In the USA maybe.

RE: Prepare
By jabber on 5/31/2011 6:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah automatics are considered rather effeminate where I come from. For bank managers wives only.

Manuals rule!

There is a social stigma if you've only passed the automatic driving test. :)

RE: Prepare
By FITCamaro on 5/31/2011 3:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really care how rare they are. I care about what I want to drive. I want to drive manuals. So any new/used vehicles I buy in the future will be dependent on them having manual transmissions. If one brand doesn't make them, I won't buy that brand.

I wouldn't buy a Toyota anyway considering they are the most boring car brand out there.

RE: Prepare
By YashBudini on 5/31/2011 6:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't buy a Toyota anyway considering they are the most boring car brand out there.

And rummaging through junk yards looking for rare parts makes your heart go pitty pat?

Colossal waste of time, just like waiting for the WS-6 option was, as opposed to the more obtainable & far less expensive WS-7.

RE: Prepare
By FITCamaro on 6/1/2011 7:57:20 AM , Rating: 2
My GTO is a 2006 you dumbass.

And the WS6 option relates to the Firebird. Not the Camaro.

There's also no such thing as a WS7. It was just a badge cooked up by a company for people who bought 4th gen Formulas, wanted the WS6 hood, but didn't buy the WS6 package. There might have been a couple other companies that cooked up that badge for various performance packages they sold. But it was not an official GM RPO.

To answer your question, hell yes I'd rather own a classic car that required some parts search than a boring ass Toyota that has all the excitement of a turtle running a marathon.

RE: Prepare
By YashBudini on 6/2/2011 8:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
My GTO is a 2006 you dumbass.

I was like you in my teens, but I grew out of it. I have huge doubts about you however. And I never had a need to be "in your face" about it like you.

You really should consider increasing your vocabulary, its just the SOS, like your rah-rah-ing GM products.

Speaking of dumbass have you figured out how Medicaid works yet or are you sticking to your prior misinformation?

RE: Prepare
By YashBudini on 6/2/2011 8:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
My GTO is a 2006 you dumbass

Oh and a new one no less? Oh God, you just can't get enough of irony can you? The first part of this sentence and the last part.

RE: Prepare
By Kiffberet on 6/2/2011 9:03:58 AM , Rating: 2
In the UK and Europe, automatics are for taxi drivers, or old woman.

I'd say at least 90% of cars on the road are manual, and those with automatics have to deduct 20% off the resale price, because no one wants them.

RE: Prepare
By stryfe on 5/31/2011 3:28:11 PM , Rating: 3
You probably thought that about the Prius as well. So far, I haven't heard a single Prius owner complain about needing a new starter every 6 months, or at all for that matter
The Prius actually doesn't have a starter per se. A starter is just a small electric motor which cranks the engine. Because the Prius is a parallel hybrid where the electric motor resides between the engine and transmission that electric motor can be used to start the engine making a dedicated starter redundant.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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