Volvo breakthrough boosts fuel efficiency 25 percent
Volvo has been testing a mechanical hybrid system it claims will reduce fuel consumption by up to 25% for a given performance point. The performance benchmark that Volvo is using is a six-cylinder turbo engine. From that point, Volvo is then claiming it has a system in development that will use a four-cylinder turbo engine and a mechanical hybrid system that will meet the performance target, yet use 25% less fuel.
In essence, Volvo has adopted the base technology widely used already in prototype, supercars, and racing cars commonly referred to as a flywheel-kinetic energy recovery system, or KERS. KERS is a term that can apply to any system that recovers energy from a car during braking. What is unusual about Volvo’s new system is the flywheel. A flywheel is simply a spinning mass that can store energy simply through its rotational momentum. When the energy recovery is wanted for powering the car that rotational energy can be tapped via a mechanical (transmission) system. In the mechanical system the flywheel takes the role of the battery in a more conventional hybrid, battery storage system.