Volvo has been testing its kinetic flywheel hybrid system on public roads and has determined that it can cut a car’s fuel consumption by up to 25%. This system enables a car powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged engine to have the same output as that of a six-cylinder engine but with much lower fuel consumption.
Due to these findings, Volvo is now thinking about using this technology on a production car. The Flywheel Kinetic Energy Recovery System is equipped with a 13.2-pound, 7.9-inch carbonfiber flywheel protected in a vacuum.
The flywheel is connected to the rear wheels via a special transmission so it is capable of spinning up to 60,000 rpm. When the vehicle is accelerating, the flywheel is linked to the rear wheels to produce as much as 80 hp of additional power.
Due to the flywheel’s boost, the Volvo test car is capable of accelerating faster from zero to 60mph by at least one second. However, fuel economy can also be improved by as much as 25% by permitting the regular engine to turn off at a stop or under light acceleration. Volvo claims that it’s such an effective system that the under the European fuel-economy test cycle, the engine may be turned off nearly 50% of the time.
Since the 1960s, Volvo has been experimenting with flywheel hybrid technology. At that time, he used steel flywheels that were heavy, costly, and far from efficient. Volvo asserts that its carbonfiber unit will be far less expensive than a regular battery hybrid system.
If Volvo pushes through with using this technology for production, it’s possible that it will be seen at the four-cylinder VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) engines that are set to be launched this fall. Volvo has pledged to sell cars mainly with four-cylinder engines to cut fuel consumption. This means that Volvo won’t be releasing a big luxury car that may be powered by a V-8 or V-12 engine.