• Apr 26, 2011
Hybrid Synergy Drive-powered roller coaster – Click above to watch video after the jump

Toyota has teamed with Pittsburgh, PA-based Deeplocal's engineering team to build a custom-designed and fabricated roller coaster car that makes use of numerous Hybrid Synergy Drive components stripped straight from a Prius. For this demonstration project, the Deeplocal crew disassembled a 2011 Prius and used the engine, wiring harness, batteries and more in its prototype coaster cart.

Next, a track was assembled to demonstrate the braking of the roller coaster car over short distances, with the goal being to determine whether or not the Prius' regenerative braking system could generate a copious amount energy. Once completed, the coaster cart hit speeds of approximately 15 miles per hour when dropped from a 10-foot starting point. During braking, the coaster cart generated approximately 30 amps of current at 200 volts coming from the Hybrid Synergy Drive.

In the end, Deeplocal says that the simulation illustrated that the Hybrid Synergy Drive system could potentially generate sufficient juice during braking to power some amusement park items. Hit the jump to watch as various components from Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive come together in Deeplocal's custom-designed roller coaster car.

[Source: You Tube, Toyota]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Taggart
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is the kind of playful but practical tinkering that is at the soul of engineering. They need to show this to high school kids. Pronto.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As constantly as they run while opened it's a good idea, anything with that inertia should be reconveted energy and will make the coaster less rough by slightly abosrbing the motions. It's all about proper absortion to necessary speed ratio really from this point on.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Recapturing the energy makes sense. Nowdays a lot of the newer roller coasters use magnetic (eddy current) brakes that basically convert the kinetic energy to heat, but without the friction. So it makes sense to convert that to kinetic energy to potential energy (in the form of electricity). Some of these rides (like the Superman ride) use linear motors and dump Megawatts of energy into launching the roller coasters, would be nice if at least some of that energy could be recovered.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why are all the people in Toyota/Lexus ads very white with very American accents? There was another video like this for lexus and its super duper driving simulator. All the 'engineers' were white and speaking english but the simulator is in Japan, which they forgot to mention. Are they ashamed of their own heritage? When did being a Japanese company become a liability?
      ozyran440
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is cool, I remember the advertisement where someone said they'd put Toyota's HSD to use in a roller coaster. Very cool to see an idea like that get put to good, fun use.
      HVH20
      • 3 Years Ago
      [sarcasm] I would like to congratulate them on discovering potential energy. I would also recommend removing the HSD from a roller coaster, since there is no reason for a hybrid drive. If you want to capture regenerative braking, just install a simple generator and controller system. Or if you really want to cut to the chase and see how much energy they can get, break out a calculator and try out the road load equation. Its magic (science). Oh artists....[/sarcasm]
        • 3 Years Ago
        @HVH20
        [sarcasm] Geeks pressing buttons on a calculator- now that would make a great video! [/sarcasm]
      Taggart
      • 3 Years Ago
      Excellent. I never really thought about it but regenerative braking, the core hybrid synergy drive, is about....SAVING ENERGY. Most of the eco press is about new battery tech, electric cars, etc. which is fine, but ultimately this whole movement is (was) about saving energy, as the first strategy, becoming more efficient. I'm not sure the new lithium-ion batteries so much save energy as they reduce CO2, which isn't the same thing. Especially if the energy is coming from coal.
        skierpage
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Taggart
        Your post is somewhat incoherent, but regenerative braking is just a part. More important is the greater efficiency of an electric motor. Li-on batteries don't directly save energy or reduce CO2, but by enabling a larger battery pack they let a car spend more time being propelled by efficient electric drive.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      they just want to keep pushing their useless prius no matter how nonsensical it has to be. that video made absolutely no sense, all to confuse the sheeple to keep them from realizing the obvious truth that the simple solution is electric cars and not gas cars like the prius. make a light weight aerodynamic good looking high performance EV already Toyota!!!
      sprintermatt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Surprised nobody commented on the fact that the only place you need brakes on a rollercoaster is at the end of the ride... I had visions of braking on all the hills... so I guess the logic is that they use regenerative braking instead of the other forms of brakes at the end of the ride? The only issue I have is, what is the failsafe when the brakes don't work? My guess is, it's good in theory, but safety may not really allow this to work. Another problem I see... if the energy is stored in batteries in the car, and the car is moving almost constantly (except during loading and unloading) where does the energy stored get to be used? Also not sure of the fact that these cars will be out in the hot sun baking for hours and hours. with all those volts in there, seems a lot of the juice will end up going to cooling the batteries. But maybe I'm just a merry-go-round kinda guy. :)