Volvo has received a grant of 6.57m Swedish kronor (£640,000) from the Swedish Energy Agency to test the potential of flywheel technology on public roads.
The company will use the money to help develop the “next-generation technology for kinetic recovery of braking energy,” according to Volvo.
The planned system shuts off the car’s engine – used to drive the front wheels - as soon as the car begins to brake and then employs the 60,000rpm flywheel – via a specially designed transmission - to accelerate the vehicle and to give it power at cruising speeds through the rear wheels.
Vice President VCC Powertrain Engineering Derek Crabb said, “This technology has the potential for reducing fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent. What is more, it gives the driver an extra horsepower boost, giving a four-cylinder engine acceleration like that of a six-cylinder unit,” added Crabb.
With the carbonfibre flywheel in place, Volvo estimates gains of up to 80bhp as well as improvements in torque.
“If the tests and technical development go as planned, we expect cars with flywheel technology to reach the showrooms within a few years,” Crabb said.