Published on November 15th, 2014 | by James Ayre9
GKN Land Systems Increasing Production Of Electric Flywheel Hybrid Technology For Buses
November 15th, 2014 by James Ayre
GKN Land Systems is now working to greatly increase its production of its noted Gyrodrive electric flywheel hybrid technology for buses, owing to the successful completion of trials in London.
For those that are unfamiliar with it, the Gyrodrive technology utilizes a high-speed composite flywheel, along with a GKN EVO electric motor, to capture the energy that is otherwise lost during the braking process. Instead of the energy simply being lost, a traction motor on the axles instead slows the vehicle, while also generating electricity. This electricity then charges the flywheel — spinning it at up to 36,000 rpm.
Then, as the driver accelerates, the system reverses its function — utilizing the electricity in the flywheel to power the traction motor. This, reportedly, reduces the work done by the engine enough to improve fuel economy by up to 25%.
“The Gyrodrive system is a lower cost alternative to conventional battery hybrids. The upfront investment is a fraction of the cost of existing hybrids,” Green Car Congress notes. “With real-world fuel savings of up to 25%, the payback period for bus operators is three to four years. The system is smaller than conventional battery or super-capacitor hybrid units, which means it does not compromise seating or passenger capacity and can be retro-fitted to existing fleets.”
The GKN Gyrodrive system was first utilized back in June when it was used to aid Audi Motorsport’s hybrid race car’s 3rd consecutive victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race.
One of the main potential applications of the technology is for use in many of the commercial vehicles currently in common use in cities — garbage trucks, delivery vehicles, construction vehicles, etc. Given the “stop-and-start” nature of driving in the city, such applications would be more or less ideal for the technology.
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