Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems, or KERS, are often referred to as flywheel hybrids and so far have only seen action on the racing circuit. But Volvo could bring a KERS system to street cars in a few short years.
Thus far only a handful of high-end car manufacturers, including Porsche and Ferrari, have played around with KERS systems. In racing cars, energy recovered from braking is used to spin a flywheel system, which at the press of a button can be used to provide an extra boost of power by dumping that rotational energy to the wheels via a special transmission.
Such a system makes sense on the race track, but Volvo claims that using a KERS system on a four-cylinder street engine can “make it feel like a six-cylinder” while improving fuel economy by 20% by allowing the engine to be deactivated during deceleration and acceleration. It also does away with expensive battery systems, bringing down the cost of this system and making it more applicable to a wider ranger of cars.
The more clever solutions we have to alternative fuels, the better, and the KERS-style hybrid system may also offer a bump in performance as well as saving fuel. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Source: Volvo via WorldCarFans
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.