With almost than two years and thousands of miles of testing behind it, Volvo’s flywheel hybrid system has been confirmed to improve MPG by up to 25% and totally eliminating potentially hazardous/flammable batteries!
Mounted to the rear wheels of what would “normally” be a front-wheel-drive car (“normally” because Volvo offers both front-wheel and all-wheel versions of most of the cars it sells in the US), the hybrid system uses a flywheel that stores kinetic energy (similar, in principle, to the mechanism used in pull-back toy cars). In Volvo’s system, this “backwards force” occurs under braking. The driver simply applies the brakes “as usual” when approaching a red light or a corner, causing the flywheel to “spool up”, converting the car’s forward momentum and braking forces into motion. The inertial flywheel keeps spinning until the light turns green and the driver hits the accelerator, at which point the spinning mass applies power to the axle, driving the wheels for an extra boost of energy off the line.
Similar systems were developed for motorsports applications by Formula 1 team Williams, and have been put to good use by a number of GT3 Porsches along the way. According to Volvo, a system like this mated to one of the company’s upcoming VEA turbocharged four-cylinder engines has the potential to reduce an S60 or XC60’s fuel consumption by 25%, while still delivering a 5.5 second 0-60 performance that matches the company’s current T6 S60.
No word yet on the production prospects for Volvo’s new hybrid system, but if it costs less to produce than the electric hybrid system on the XC60 plug-in concept I covered a few weeks back, expect to see it hit the roads sometime in 2015.
Source: Volvo, via Fox News.