Torotrak has begun detailed testing of its ‘second generation’ KERS design on rigs and in a new Wrightbus Euro VI StreetLite bus.In making the announcement Torotrak is hoping news of its second-generation mechanical KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) will kick life into its share price which has been moribund since Adam Robson took over from Jeremy Deering as Torortrak Group chief executive officer last year.
The new KERS design is intended to further improve bus fuel efficiency and reduce KERS weight and cost, so helping to improve bus operator payback.
In the new design, engineers have reduced parts-count and system weight by 30 per cent and 80kg respectively.
They have also introduced a simpler 2x2x2 clutched flywheel transmission system reducing 'coast down' losses and improving efficiency during torque transfer.
In collaboration with its un-named global Tier 1 manufacturing partner, Torotrak claims it is “on track” to commence production of bus KERS systems from mid-2016 onwards.
Tier 2 suppliers across the UK and in parts of the EU have been nominated and the manufacture of production tooling is currently underway.
Meanwhile, Torotrak says Wrightbus has confirmed completion of the in-service trial of a StreetLite midi bus fitted with Torotrak's Flybrid mechanical kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). The trial was made possible by, and conducted with, Arriva, one of the largest bus operators in the UK.
The trial was conducted on a standard bus route in Gillingham, Kent from March 2015. It successfully demonstrated the performance of the Flybrid KERS under “real-world” operating conditions including the capture, storage and release of energy from the brakes and the drivability of the system.
The two companies claim output from the trial has already proved “invaluable in selecting the operating strategy” for the volume production system of the second generation design.
Robson says "This is a very exciting time for the Group with the bus KERS project that started in 2012 going into commercial production from the middle of this year. I am delighted with the progress we have made and we look forward to delivering our first systems to Wrightbus during Q3 2016."
Brian Maybin, Wrightbus engineering director, adds "After the invaluable in-service trials with Arriva, Wrights and Torotrak have confirmed that the next generation of flywheel is now under extensive durability testing, and after successful fuel trials, will be put into service trials from May 2016. Production vehicles will be able to be delivered into service late in 2016."
Arriva UK Bus is one of the largest bus operators in the UK with over 5,900 buses.
Ian Tarran, engineering director at Arriva UK Bus claims improving the efficiency of its bus fleet and reducing emissions is “important to us and our customers”
“Having collaborated with Torotrak and Wrightbus on the flywheel project since 2012 we are looking forward to installing Flybrid KERS across our bus fleet from Q3 2016 onwards," he pronounced.
KERS forms a vital part of Toratak’s attempts to improve vehicle emissions and fuel economy in both on-road and off-road applications, including JCB vehicle designs. It follows Torotrak’s acquisition of the assets of Flybrid Automotive. As such. Torotrak Group needs to begin generating revenue and profit from this and other activities, including CVT/IVT and V-Charge to give credibility to Robson's 'new' strategy.
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