Who thinks F1 technology is not used in regular cars? This new idea, Volvo is using, comes directly from the pinnacle of motorsport. This is a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). It's a useful alternative for heavy batteries like the Prius one.
The big mind behind this brilliant idea is Jon Hill, Director of Flybrid and technical director of Renault F1 Engine division. He thought that the best option to store braking energy is by spinning a flywheel. Therefore, Flybrid was founded and its principal aim was to develop this flywheel prototype and to sell it to F1 teams. This was a success, without a doubt.
Then it came another system using capacitors but it was more dangerous and not that light weight.
So the developing department of Williams F1 put a KERS system on the market. This was a bit more complex but it had a lot of customers like the porsche 918 RSR.
Then, it comes Volvo. New models will have this tech running the rear wheels. This will make the car 25% more fuel efficient.
But this wasn't that easy to design as it appears. It must be light, therefore, it must spin as much as 60000rpm. And at that speeds, even the friction between the spinning ring and the air causes problematic temperatures. So the flywheel must be in vacuum. The principal problem was to design a seal shaft, which was luckily possible. Thanks to Jon Hill, we can now see efficient cars on the road!! _
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