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 11:06:17 AM
I didn't say it will entirely charge in 8s. I said it will charge 150 Wh. If you put a large enough battery in there then it can do that.
Take a look at A123's 32113 cell, which has been around for a few years now (I'm sure better batteries exist). It weights 205g, and will do 500W charge/discharge for 10s. It's a 15Wh cell that will do over 250kWh of energy throughput before degrading to 80%. Take 100 of these cells, and the pack will be able to take hundreds of thousands of 150Wh microcharges before degrading.
The flywheel isn't cheap and simple either, as you need a CVT and sophisticated control to transfer the energy seamlessly to and from the 0-60k RPM flywheel. Its reliability is a lot less proven than that of batteries, which have been doing hundreds of thousands of cycles in hybrids for over a decade.
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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