When the Technology Strategy Board received funding in May for various eco-projects, one of the items on the TSB's list was a flywheel-based hybrid drive system. Connected automakers Jaguar, Land Rover and Ford are part of this project (along with Flybrid Systems, Ford Motor Company, Prodrive, Ricardo UK Ltd, Torotrak plc, and Xtrac Ltd.) and the Technology Strategy Board announced this week that the flywheel technology is proceeding as planned. We have a lot of hope for flywheel tech, and it made our list of most promising green technologies.
Expected to take two years, the program will install the purely mechanical kinetic energy storage system (developed for Formula One race cars) into a demonstration vehicle and will, the TSB hopes, prove to be cheaper and more efficient than standard battery-powered hybrid systems. More information after the jump and at some of our older posts.

[Source: Technology Strategy Board]


PRESS RELEASE

British team accelerates new hybrid technology

New flywheel hybrid technology is being developed for applications in road cars by a group of leading British companies.

The project, funded by the Technology Strategy Board, is being led by Jaguar Land Rover and managed by Prodrive with advanced technology from Flybrid, Torotrak, Xtrac and Ford. Ricardo is examining alternative flywheel concepts in parallel with this project. During the two year programme, the group will develop the new technology and build a demonstrator vehicle equipped with the system.

The flywheel hybrid system will be based on technology recently developed in accordance with new Formula One regulations. The entirely mechanical system recovers the kinetic energy of a vehicle during braking in a high speed rotating flywheel, rather than using an electric motor to store it in batteries, as in current electric hybrids.

Such kinetic energy hybrid systems have several potential advantages over full electric hybrids, depending on the application. They are more efficient in recovering energy during braking and should be substantially cheaper to produce than electric hybrid systems. The flywheel is also better at 'deep cycle' charge and recharge, whereby all the energy is either released or recovered from the unit, with no loss in performance over the life of the vehicle, as can be the case with electric-based systems where batteries can lose their ability to fully charge and discharge.

The compact layout of the system also makes vehicle packaging and integration simpler. The aim for this flywheel hybrid system is that it will require no change to the base vehicle platform.

The targets for the new system are to have a round trip efficiency of 70%, with a fuel economy improvement over the NEDC (New European Drive Cycle) of 20%. One of the key advantages is that improvements in real world fuel economy are expected to be at least as good as that recorded over the NEDC cycle which is not always the case for conventional electric hybrids.


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