Volvo "Flybrid" KERS System Promises to Reduce Fuel Consumption by 25%
March 26, 2014 9:21 AM
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Volvo testing a prototype of the KERS system right now
exotic race cars have been using a KERS system
to store and then release power back to the driver in certain instances as a sort of “boost” function. KERS technology is now starting to come to the street and
Volvo has a working prototype using the tech
However, Volvo isn't using the tech just to improve performance; it is using the tech to improve fuel efficiency. According to the automaker, KERS can reduce fuel consumption as much as 25 percent. In addition to improving fuel economy, Volvo says that the KERS tech can also reduce production costs compared to traditional hybrid systems.
Prototype Volvo S60 with Flybrid KERS system
Volvo has test fitted what it calls a “Flybrid” KERS to the rear axle of a S60 to assist the gas engine that drives the front wheels of the car. It captures kinetic energy typically lost from braking and sends it to the flyweel. 150 watt hours of energy can be captured in only 8 seconds, and the energy can be stored for up to 30 minutes or used immediately.
The KERS system – which spins its flywheel at a maximum of 60,000 rpm in a true vacuum and can deliver 80hp -- can be used to knock 1.5 seconds off the car's 0-60 time or in an economy mode to reduce pollution.
The entire system only weighs about 130 pounds, which makes it much lighter than a traditional electric motor and NiMH/Li-ion battery packs used in hybrid vehicles. For example, the batteries alone used in Volvo's current hybrids weigh 660 pounds.
Flybrid KERS (Kinetic Recovery System)
The prototype KERS systems won’t reach production in its current form. A production version of the system will see a similar flywheel and transmission attached to a front wheel drive-based transmission.
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RE: The 660lb battery pack mentioned is for the all electric C30E, not regular hybrids
3/27/2014 10:18:30 AM
A few points to clarify here:
KERS, as it is used in the article, is kinetic energy recovery system, it captures the energy of the moving vehicle. KERS is used in all hybrid or pure EV vehicles, not just flywheels.
"Batteries and wires" is a gross over-simplification. This isn't lighting a Christmas light with a 9V battery. All modern batteries need a support system to allow them to survive "wildly varying temperatures and shocks overtime".
Any turbo engine on the market today has a turbine that spins at 10's of thousands of RPM so RPM itself is not an issue. The 60K RPM was peak for the system and is only reached when the vehicle is slowing or accelerating.
What makes you think this is more expensive than a battery? Look at the price of used HEV's, the car is worth less than the cost of a battery replacement. How is that economical?
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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