Volvo’s New Flywheel Technology Improves Fuel Efficiency by Up to 25 Percent [Video]
Their latest design, the “Flywheel KERS”, is said to improve fuel economy by up to 25 percent. With extensive testing having been completed on public roads, Volvo revealed that its kinetic flywheel technology is both efficient and financially viable for mass production.
How does it work you may ask? Well, the Flywheel KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), which is fitted to the rear axle, grabs the car’s braking energy by spinning up to 60,000 revs per minute, and then transfers it to the rear wheels through a specially designed transmission as soon as the vehicle starts moving again.
In addition, the combustion engine that drives the front wheels is switched off when braking begins, leaving it to the energy in the flywheel to accelerate the vehicle back to cruising speed. It’s only then that the main engine is reactivated.
“The results show that this technology combined with a four-cylinder turbo engine has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 per cent compared with a six-cylinder turbo engine at a comparable performance level," says Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group, "Giving the driver an extra 80 horsepower, it makes a car with a four-cylinder engine accelerate like one with a six-cylinder unit."
According to Volvo, the Flywheel KERS technology was most efficient in city traffic, with the flywheel’s stored energy being “sufficient to power the car for short periods”.
❐ Check out the Volvo Flywheel KERS technology photo gallery