Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Flybrid success surprises Torotrak
Torotrak has been surprised by the speed with which developments have taken place since it took a 20 per cent stake in Flybrid Automotive in March 2013.
“Our work with Flybrid’s flywheel technology has given us access to the passenger car market,” said Jeremy Deering, Torotrak’s; chief executive. “Things have moved much more quickly than we had first thought when making our decision to invest in Flybrid.”
“Our M-KERS prototype installed in a Volvo S60 has delivered results that impressed the customer, who announced that testing had demonstrated fuel savings of up to 25 per cent,” he added.
“We are now talking to several car manufacturers that we believe could deploy this technology in their product (initially in more premium segments) with the key being the ability to source a Tier 1 supply route.”
“Equally encouraging to us is the active engagement we are having with a number of Tier 1 suppliers,” he said. “Signing up a Tier 1 supplier development partner or partners is therefore a key objective going forward.”
In fact, Torotrak believes that with Flybrid it has a first-to-market, first class fuel-saving technology that it expects to launch in bus fleet trials early next year, and in prototype form by the end of the current year.
More than that, Torotrak claims it could offer commercial vehicle operators a payback within three years.
But the technology is not just for buses and even trucks, according to Deering, as it attributes make it attractive in delivery vans and cars too, starting with the more premium sector segments.
“These higher volume segments require further development of manufacturing processes but creating volumes in buses creates a strong starting point,” he said.
Deering claims that as the volumes are initially tens, then hundreds, before reaching thousands, the investment and manufacturing plan is “very manageable”.
Torotrak notes that the technology is so cost-effective that both manufacturers and consumers can afford it, it is simple to maintain and it can be packaged and fitted relatively easily. It also has high specific power that can launch a car from rest time and time again and can deliver considerable brake horsepower.
This package of benefits cannot be matched by a pure electric battery system, claimed Deering.
On the basis of this early success, Torotrak can be expected to complete its acquisition of Flybrid before the end of the year. ∎