Volvo chooses Torotrak for flywheel based mechanical hybrid development
31 May 2011
Gearless traction drive specialist, Torotrak has confirmed that its continuously variable transmission (CVT) system will form part of the Volvo Car Corporation’s evaluation of flywheel technology, which it announced last week. Volvo’s project, part-funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, will bring together Torotrak’s variable drive technology and Flybrid Systems (UK) flywheel technology, working with SKF of Sweden and Volvo Powertrain.
In addition to the mechanical hybrid projects that Torotrak is already working on, this will provide another powerful opportunity to demonstrate the contribution that mechanical hybrids can make to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy, considerably more cost effectively than electrical hybrids.
Torotrak chief executive Dick Elsy (pictured) says he senses "real momentum" in the rapidly growing markets for efficiency-enhancing devices to reduce CO2 emissions. "The industry needs cost-effective hybrid solutions and using a Torotrak variable drive transmission in conjunction with a mechanical flywheel has demonstrated the capability for double-digit improvements in fuel economy.”
In a statement issued by Volvo Car Corporation (VCC) Derek Crabb, Vice President VCC Powertrain Engineering, said: "If the tests and technical development go as planned, we expect cars with flywheel technology to reach the showrooms within a few years. Flywheel technology is relatively cheap. It can be used in a much larger volume of our cars than top-of-the-line technology such as the plug-in hybrid. This means that it has potential to play a major role in our CO2-cutting ‘DRIVe Towards Zero’ strategy."
Mechanical hybrids can also be used to boost the low-end torque of downsized engines and can provide immediate torque for vehicles with stop-start strategies.
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