AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: Flybrids Pack a lot of Energy

May 19th, 2008 at 5:00pm

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

Listen to this story:

Flybrids are a new kind of hybrid that use a flywheel to store energy. That’s right, they don’t use batteries.

You know those toy cars you push along the carpet so the wheels will get an internal flywheel spinning, then let it go and watch it scoot across the floor?Well a flybrid is the same idea, only fancier. A flybrid is a hybrid that uses a flywheel.

During braking the car is slowed down by diverting all that energy through a CVT into the flywheel, which gets the flywheel spinning. And it spins with ferocious intensity. The flywheel is a small cylinder made of carbon and steel that only weighs about ten pounds, is encased in a vacuum, and spins over 64,000 rpm. To express that in more impressive terms, the outer edge of the flywheel is traveling at Mach 3.3!

And that, folks, represents a lot of energy. So much energy that you can use it to accelerate a car, the same way traditional hybrids do, only they do it with batteries, and a flywheel is a lot cheaper than batteries.

2 Comments to “AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: Flybrids Pack a lot of Energy”

  1. Tom Martin Says:

    Unfortunately, this mainly works after braking. It won’t help highway driving, or slow steady driving. People who drive using a lot of brakes will benefit the most, while those who coast and are light on brakes won’t benefit.

    It would be interesting to see the actual mileage improvements with the flywheel. I suspect that the flywheel will be a more efficient conserver of power than most hybrids which only capture about 25% of the energy.

  2. theron Says:

    wow. what happens if that thing gets loose in an accident?