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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 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
quote:
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
quote:
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
quote:
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.


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