All of the so-called hybrid cars on sale in the world today depend on battery technology to store the energy that is dissipated when a car brakes. However companies are developing alternative solutions which will relegate battery hybrid cars to the history books
First of all, how exactly do flywheel hybrids work?
Flywheel hybrids works by transferring the kinetic energy of the car to kinetic energy in a flywheel under braking. The process involves no conversion from one form of energy into another which makes the system vastly more efficient than battery technology which converts kinetic energy into chemical energy.
The flywheel stores the energy until the car needs to accelerate again. The principle of the system is extremely simple.
Flywheel hybrids are superior to battery hybrids in every important area.
1. Flywheel hybrids have almost limitless potential with regards to how much energy is converted from the car to the flywheel. The rate of energy transfer is only limited by the grip of the tyres, the amount of energy stored in the flywheel is only limited by the speed the flywheel can turn.
2. Flywheel hybrids are much simpler than battery hybrids which means there is less to go wrong, which means less servicing costs and less replacements costs with flywheel hybrids.
3. Flywheel hybrid systems weigh much less than battery hybrids. Possibly weighing only 10% of a battery hybrid system which is less powerful
4. Teh life of a flywheel system is almost infinite as long as the components are properly maintained. Unlike batteries which have a definite life span, even when they are treated perfectly
5. Flywheel hybrids do not produce any materials that need to special treatment when they are disposed of, unlike batteries which contain chemicals which need to be disposed of in a control way. If you ever needed to dispose of a flywheel system there would also be much less waste than a battery hybrid.
6. Flywheel hybrid technology is much lighter than battery technology which means there is less strain on the cars braking system, which means the brake components can be made lighter which further improves full economy and performance. Because brake systems can be made smaller it means they will be cheaper than braking systems of battery hybrids and brake systems on flywheel hybrids will also make less waste in terms of dust, brake pads and brake discs.
7. Flywheel hybrids are lighter than battery hybrids which means there is less strain on the tyres during braking acceleration, cornering and cruising which means tyres will last longer and/or they can be made smaller. Either way, tyre costs of flywheel hybrid cars will be less than on battery hybrid cars.
8. Flywheel hybrid cars will be lighter than battery hybrids which means flywheel hybrid cars will give better performance, faster acceleration, better braking, faster corning and better ride comfort as suspension can be made softer.
9. Flywheel hybrid technology takes up much less interior space than a battery hybrid system which means there is more interior space in a flywheel hybrid and the system is much easier to package.
10. Because flywheel hybrids are simpler and last longer than battery hybrids they cost less.
11. Flywheel hybrid cars will have a much bigger range than battery hybrid cars for 2 reasons. The brake energy transfer process from braking is faster and more efficient in flywheel hybrid cars and flywheel hybrid cars are lighter than battery hybrid cars meaning less fuel consumption in general.
12. The potential of flywheel hybrid technology is almost limitless. In fact it is easy to see the technology getting to the point where the amount of grip between the road and the tyre will be by far the biggest limiting factor. Flywheel hybrid cars are sure to get to the point where the energy they can take out of the brakes is far bigger than the braking force the tyres can provide and the same goes for acceleration. The power available from the flywheel system can easily be made enough to overcome the grip on the tyres.
13. As if all these points were not enough flywheel hybrid technology is also more versatile than battery technology. From going to the shops in your Nissan Micra to going for the outright win at the Le Mans 24hours, flywheel hybrid technology will bring huge benefits to both drivers, even though their priorities could not be more different.
The Micra driver will get massively improved fuel consumption, the Le Mans competitor will have a much faster car which could conceivably lead to lap times falling all the way up to the pit stops.
However if the Micra driver decided the fuel economy was not as high priority as speed, a flywheel hybrid system can massively increase the performance of the Micra.
Imagine driving along at 70mph with your foot dragging on the brake to bring the flywheel up to speed. The Micra driver now has a huge store of energy which can be used to give the car lightning acceleration from 70mph. Something that is only possible with a flywheel hybrid system.
In summary, flywheel hybrid technology is superior in every way we can think of and this is why we believe the days of the battery hybrid and numbered.