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Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy 262

cartechboy (2660665) writes "Sometimes we get carried away with sexy moonshot car tech--whereas most everyday gains are about reducing inefficiencies, piece by piece. Volvo's flywheel energy-recovery prototype is a great example of the latter--not to mention similar to one used in Formula 1 racing. The system recaptures energy that would be wasted in braking, like a hybrid does, to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 percent. When you hit the brakes, kinetic energy that's usually wasted as heat is transferred to a "Kinetic Energy Recovery System" mounted to the undriven axle. It spools up a carbon flywheel that turns at 60,000 rpm to store the energy. When the driver hits the gas, some of the stored energy is transferred back to power the wheels through a specially designed transmission, either boosting total power to the wheels or substituting for engine torque to cut fuel consumption."
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Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

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  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:04PM (#46595681)

    This seems great for high or nearly-sustained speed driving, but what I really want is an electric only option from 0-15 mph, a "parking garage" or "traffic jam" mode that I can put my car into.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:24PM (#46595903) Journal

    It occurs to that this is basically a larger copy of the "friction motor" that was used in toy cars. The ones you'd spin up by rolling them on the floor , then you let go and they speed away. If you ever played with those, you know that the spinning flywheel has WAY more than enough rotational energy than required to accelerate its own mass. Those aren't going nearly 60,000 RPM either. (I think, I've never measured their flywheel speed.)

  • Fuck Hypermilers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:36PM (#46596023)
    I hate getting caught behind one of those "How slowly can I accelerate and still call it acceleration" types. Invariable on my commutes, it's those dickheads that do not understand that the lights are timed for NORMALS and cause a huge traffic jam behind them from stopping at every damn light. Yeah, you save a LOT of gas stopping at every light on the road instead of getting up to speed in a reasonable distance and getting the green. I have one road on my commute that has 15 consecutive lights. Pass the eco-nazis and I never have to stop. Get caught behind them and my commute time doubles.
  • Re:mass in motion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Matt_Bennett ( 79107 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:53PM (#46596233) Homepage Journal

    Counter-rotate the flywheels and #4 isn't an issue, no matter what the orientation is.

  • Fuck boy racers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:54PM (#46596247)

    People who don't leave adequate braking distance and accelerate as hard as possible are the reason most of the traffic jams on my morning route occur. A single light touch on the brakes gets magnified into a ripple of progressively more urgent braking until you have traffic that grinds to a stop - no obstruction required. A few large gaps help to absorb this kind of thing and would keep the traffic flowing, but the few people who seem to think that tailgating people at beyond the speed limit until they give way and let the guy overtake you - so he can do the same thing to the next guy in the fast lane going the same speed - is acceptable make everyone else so paranoid that they are missing out on a particular piece of road that hardly anyone is willing to leave any space.

    If everyone drove with a little more room, then the traffic wouldn't jam up so much, and paradoxically, people would get to their destination faster. The tailgaters are just spoiling their own driving party.

  • Re:Fuck boy racers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by _UnderTow_ ( 86073 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:00PM (#46596329)
    Translation: "If most people weren't stupid, we could have nice things"

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire