Volvo's Flywheel KERS Technology
The system, known as Flywheel KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), is fitted to a vehicle’s rear axle and stores energy captured during braking, a concept related to regenerative braking common in many hybrids. Those braking forces get the flywheel spinning at up to 60,000 revs per minute. Once the car starts to move again, the energy from the flywheel is transferred to a unique transmission that boosts acceleration form a stop – which requires a large amount of power and therefore gas – or it can be used during cruising to boost mpg. KERS is also currently used in top-tier auto racing.
Since cars were invented, energy generated during braking has been dissipated as heat and transferred to the car’s brake systems, which consisted of brake drums early on and later, disc brakes. But KERS changes that in a big way.
In the Volvo KERS system, the gas-powered combustion engine that drives the front wheels is switched off as soon as braking begins. As the brake pedal is pushed, the kinetic energy of the car’s forward motion is stored in the spinning flywheel system. Energy generated from its rotation can then be used to accelerate the vehicle or to power it when cruising, according to Volvo’s official press release on the technology. The system is transparent to the driver; car controls and car behavior are largely normal. And yes, the car still has “normal” brakes for quick stops. The flywheel used by Volvo in their test S60 was instead made of carbon fiber, which is much lighter but allows higher rotational speeds.
Combined with the combustion engine’s full capacity, the KERS system can provide a vehicle with up to 80 more instant horsepower and helped the S60 accelerate from 0 to 100 kmh in 5.5 seconds. Since the technology relies on energy captured during braking, it’s more efficient in city driving where a vehicle typically engages in more stops and starts. Also, no spendy and possibly toxic batteries are required.
KERS is already used in Formula One (F1) racing where it can give a race car a brief (usually 3 seconds or so) surge of power for passing – or it can be used to avoid being passed. It was first used in 2009, then banned in 2010, then allowed again starting in 2011.
vikaskumar11233Dear, This KERS technology is really good. I have surfed about it on the net. Really impressive technology to be used in four wheeler's. As per I think, KERS increases the pickup power of the vehicle as it uses the stored energy when the vehicle is started again. So, I think that this technology should be introduced in the commercial vehicles.
So far few KERS systems are being used in F1 cars such as the Zytek, Flybrid, Torotrak and Xtrac.
Sarathkumar ChandrasekaranI remember watching the Megafactories of the great "Wiiliams F1" and I want to share that Williams F1 has their own flywheel KERS known as Williams Hybrid power and selled it to audi le Mans R18 .
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