Daren Luedtke of Mansfield, Missouri, has invented not one but two transmissions he claims will be "the future of transportation." One is an electromagnetic transmission which is pulling duty in his 'vintage' Dodge Caravan <yuck> prototype vehicle, the other is a belt-driven transmission, which he claims can perform in any application that the electromagnetic transmission cannot.
It seems to work by using a relatively small electric motor to spin a flywheel, running even when the car is stopped. It sounds like an unnecessary drain on the batteries, but it actually enables the large car (loaded down with lead-acid batteries) to be propelled by a small motor that draws less power. It spools up it kinetic energy when you start it, and the flywheel transfers the spinning force to the wheels in a gradual manner. This allows the small motor to operate around its peak efficiency all the time, similar to a CVT. Details are hard to find, which is probably intentional, as Luedtke is trying to sell his designs to a mass-market manufacturer for consumer use. He claims he can get a 150-mile range out of his van, and estimates as much as 500 miles if he equipped it with lithium ion batteries. Whether performance is adequate enough for consumers is a question that likely can't be answered until more funding either from an automaker or private backers fuels more testing in practical and up-to-date prototypes.

Be sure to watch the video of Daren and his electric mini-van.

[Source: OzarksFirst.com Thanks for the tip, Domenick!]


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