Volvo Working on Revolutionary Flywheel KERS

Swedish manufacturer Volvo is on the verge of revolutionizing, once again, the automotive industry, if we are to judge by what the car maker said on Thursday: by creating a new flywheel, Volvo says that it will soon be able to give a four-cylinder engine the power of a six-cylinder one, and at the same time cut fuel consumption by 20 percent.

After spending the $1 million provided by the Swedish Energy Agency, Volvo says that it has come up with a new-generation kinetic recovery system. One that will be tested, for the first time, this fall, and launched into production soon after.

But what is so revolutionary about the new flywheel KERS, as it is called? According to Volvo, the system, fitted to the rear axle, can spin at up to 60,000 revs per minute during retardation. Once the driver stopped braking and the car starts moving again, the flywheel sends the captured energy to the rear wheels via a specially designed transmission.

During the entire braking process, the internal combustion engine is turned off. The energy generated by braking is enough, say Volvo, to get the car moving again without the ICE, and even make the car cruise for short periods of time at low speeds.
According to Volvo, paired with a start /stop system and an internal combustion engine, the new KERS can provide an additional 80 horsepower to an engine and at the same time reduce its fuel consumption by 20 percent.

"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," said Derek Crabb, vice president of Volvo's Powertrain Engineering.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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