Volvo and engineering company Flybrid Automotive, have been conducting UK tests of lightweight Flybrid flywheel KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology that boosts performance while cutting fuel consumption and emissions.
The partnership, using real-world driving data from tests on public roads and test tracks in both Sweden and the UK, has shown that the flywheel-based hybrid technology can deliver an 55kW performance boost, together with fuel savings of up to 25 per cent.
The research forms part of Volvo's continued Drive-E Powertrain research and development programme, which demands no compromise between performance and efficiency. Flybrid KERS tests deliver impressive results and confirm that it is a lightweight, financially viable and very efficient solution.
The system is the first full-scale trial of a rear-axle mounted flywheel system in a front-wheel-drive passenger car. The Flybrid KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is fitted to the rear axle of a Volvo S60 powered by a 200kW five-cylinder T5 petrol engine. Under braking, kinetic energy which would otherwise be lost as heat is transferred from the wheels to the KERS, and is used to spin a 6kg carbon fibre flywheel at up to 60,000 revs per minute.
When the car starts moving off again, energy stored in the spinning flywheel is transferred back to the rear wheels via a specially designed transmission, and can either boost power or reduce load on the engine. The combustion engine that drives the front wheels is switched off as soon as braking begins. The energy in the flywheel can then be used to accelerate the vehicle when it is time to move off again or to power the vehicle once it reaches cruising speed.