The Possibility of Flywheel Technology Driving Out Battery from Hybrid Cars

February 13, 2014

Batteries are not only problematic to dispose of, but they are also intensive to make. The answer could lie in flywheel technology, referred to as Kers in Formula One World. Hybrid cars are a nod to green motoring and are halfway battery between a fully-electric Nissan Leaf and the traditional gas motor. While hybrid vehicles can retain a traditional diesel engine, they also have the ability to draw in kinetic energy from the braking motion of the car. They then use that kinetic energy for powering an extra electric motor.

The manufacture of batteries is an energy-intensive process, and more than 50kg can be added to a vehicle’s mass by the weight of a battery. This implies increased usage of fuel. It is however, essential to acknowledge the fact that hybrids still cover more miles compared to traditional versions of a similar model. The issue of fuel efficiency also comes about. Every time a hybrid system is used, one is going from kinetic energy to electric energy to chemical energy, and back again. Kinetic energy, which in normal cases is lost in the form of heat during breaking, is translated to electric energy. This conversion is mediated by a generator used for charging the battery. The losses incurred during conversion are unavoidable. Moreover, environmental problems arise as a result of battery disposal.

Batteries are not the only means of storing kinetic energy. It is possible to make hybrid cars with flywheels in place of batteries. In such a case, a flywheel is spun by the kinetic energy recovered during braking. The energy recovered is then preserved in a spinning wheel prior to being released during acceleration. The energy amount stored in a flywheel depends on the mass, as well as the rate, at which the flywheel is rotating. An 80bph boost has been provided by prototypes.

In comparison to batteries, flywheels give the possibility of improved efficiency of fuel. This is by maintaining energy in mechanical form instead of transitioning through mechanical, electrical and chemical states. A characteristic of flywheels is that they are light in weight. A typical flywheel will weight six to eight kilograms. Also, in terms of disposal, flywheels do not present several problems or issues. The use of flywheels evidently sounds promising. The big question is whether hybrids with flywheels could be in competition with the battery hybrids. A major demerit of flywheels is that there energy density is lower than that of batteries. This means that the rate at which flywheels can release energy is higher compared to that of batteries.


Filed under: Electric Cars,hybrid cars

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1 Comment Leave a Comment

  • 1.  |  May 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this article is awesome, great written and come with almost all important infos.
    I’d like to see extra posts like this .

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