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Volvo flywheel KERS technology


Volvo has recently said that after extensively developing and testing kinetic flywheels, they have confirmed the technology to be a lightweight, eco-friendly and financially viable solutions for improving the performance of their future vehicles.

The Swedish manufacturer has tested the technology in conjunction with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, known as the Flywheel KERS – Kinetic Energy Recovery System. The results have shown that the technology has the potential of reducing fuel consumption by up to 25 percent when compared to a six-cylinder engine of comparable power.

Volvo’s KERS system works by being fitted to the rear axle and harnesses the usually-wasted braking energy – this causes the flywheel to spin at up to 60k rpm. As soon as braking begins the combustion engine that powers the front wheels is switched off and when the car start to move again – after the braking is done – the flywheel’s rotation is then transferred to the rear wheels via a specially designed transmission.

When the energy of the flywheel is combined with that from the combustion engine, Volvo say that it can give the car a momentary 60kW power boost which translates to a zero to 100km/h sprint of 5.5 seconds when installed on Volvo’s experimental S60 dev car – this is a whole two seconds quicker than the 177kW/320Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder Volvo S60 T5.

The carbonfibre flywheel developed by Volvo has a diameter of 200mm and weighs six kilos, thus being considerably lighter than conventional steel units.

According to Derek Crabb – the company’s powertrain engineering vice president – Volvo was the first car manufacturer to apply the flywheel technology to the rear axle of a car whilst a combustion engine powered the front wheels. He continued to say that the next step is to evaluate how the technology can now be implemented in Volvo’s upcoming car models.

Volvo are going full steam behind this technology expecting to implement it in their next-gen production cars that will be due later this decade.

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