Saturday 15 June 2013

Volvo: KERS gives economy, performance gains

Volvo Cars has achieved an acceleration of 0 to 60 mile/h in 5.5 seconds with an S60 passenger car fitted with a downsized 2-litre engine - in place of the conventional V6 engine - and a KERS unit developed by Flybrid Automotive Ltd of Silverstone, UK.

According to Jon Hilton, managing director of Flybrid Automotive Ltd, Volvo Cars in Sweden has been working with the British company on the development for over two years.

“We have been working with Volvo Cars for more than two years," admitted Hilton. “They have had the vehicle both for test and for demonstration. They have had the car, based on an S60 saloon, on test for over a year. They have been working on calibration and control of the vehicle at their test centre in Gothenburg.”

“It is a really important programme,” added Hilton. “Obviously, Volvo Cars is an important car maker. They make a high volume of vehicles these days and they are developing a new architecture called SBA which will be the basis of future models from 2015 onwards.”

“In this package they have allowed space in the back of the car to fit a hybrid system,” revealed Hilton. “We have developed a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) that fits into this space in the rear sub-frame of this car. It is connected to the rear wheels making what we call a through-the-road hybrid.”

 “It is quite a powerful device,” noted Hilton. “It delivers up to 60kW and 540KJ of storage which is enough to store all of the braking energy of the vehicle from 70mile/h. This can be used to improve both the fuel consumption of the car and its performance.”

“Volvo Cars is making a really good show of how to get the best of both performance and fuel economy with this car. Volvo Cars is openly talking about a 25 percent improvement compared with a car of equivalent performance. So they are taking a downsized four-cylinder 2-litre engine and boosting it back up to the performance of the V6-engine car using the KERS device.”

“The car we have on test will do 0 to 60 in 5.5s yet demonstrates really good fuel consumption,” concluded Hilton. “So it is both exciting and green.”

Volvo Cars’ T6 3-litre V6 gasoline engine in turbocharged form develops for the US market some 242kW (329PS, 325bhp), whereas the company’s T5 2-litre four-cylinder engine develops 180kW (245PS, 250bhp). In this way, Volvo could install a cheaper I4 engine in place of the more expensive V6 without any damage to performance, while at the same time achieving some fuel economy gain.

 Flybrid Automotive demonstrated the vehicle on its stand at Engine Expo 2013 held at the Stuttgart Messe in Germany from 4 to 6 June. It was on display with a spare unit from the car. It is the first time the unit has been on public display, according to Hilton. Managers from major European automotive companies were able to examine the British technology.

Continuously variable transmission maker Torotrak plc of Leyland, Lancashire, has taken a 20 per cent stake in Flybrid Automotive Ltd ata cost of £3 million. The FTSE company has an option to purchase the remaining 80 per cent of shares by 20 December. Torotrak effectively purchased the Flybrid equity with the £2.5 million it received from Allison Transmission Inc. when it purchased 8,248,434 new ordinary shares ata price of 30.255p per share - a 20 per cent premiumto the mid-market cllosing price. For further details see also "Torotrak cashes in on Flybrid" - 18 March, 2013; "Volvo Car starts new engine family" - 13 May 2013; and "Volvo video highlights KERS" - 22 April, 2013.  

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