Volvo’s new flywheel-based KERS hybrid tech could reduce fuel consumption by 25 per cent

2014 Volvo-S60 26
Mar 14

Formula 1 Inspired KERS system will be fitted to a Volvo S60

Volvo is taking the hybrid game to the next level by introducing its latest flywheel KERS technology. It has teamed up with Flybrid Automotive to develop a prototype Volvo S60 fitted with the flywheel-based hybrid technology, which increases power by 80bhp while burning 25% less fuel.

The KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology does not rely on batteries to store its energy. In its place, as the name suggests, a flywheel mounted on the rear axel captures wasted energy under braking, which is then deployed alongside the 254bhp five-cylinder T5 petrol engine in the S60 prototype.

The added quantity of power is immediate. With the KERS system engaged, the sprint from 0-62mph is cut by 1.5 seconds, down to just 5.5 seconds. With the KERS working alongside the engine, the prototype temporarily becomes four-wheel drive, with the petrol engine powering the front-wheels and the flywheel driving the rears. Under hard acceleration, the power boost from the KERS can last for up to 10 seconds. Such is the amount of energy harnessed under braking, only eight seconds of braking could fully top up the flywheel.

Flybrid Automotive claims the flywheel system costs from a quarter to a third of the price of producing a battery-electric hybrid. The flywheel KERS weighs only 60kg – which would be further reduced if the system was to be built-in directly into the car’s transmission. The system in a battery-electric hybrid can weigh anything up to 300kg. The system is still four to five years away from making its way into showroom models.