F1 technology will cut off-highway emissions and fuel costs

Government grant awarded to accelerate development of Flybrid KERS for off-highway vehicles with trials in buses due later this year
Emissions of excavators, buses and cars will be substantially reduced as energy saving technology developed for motorsport reaches every-day vehicles. Developed by Flybrid, part of Torotrak PLC (LSE: TRK), the pure-mechanical Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) was originally designed to for use in Formula 1 and has been raced at Le Mans. Yesterday, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, has announced that Flybrid and JCB have been awarded an anticipated £3.3 million to support the application of the technology in excavators.

The news comes just weeks after Volvo demonstrated an S60 T5 vehicle fitted with a Torotrak Flybrid® KERS -that it says cuts fuel consumption and emissions by up to 25 percent. Volvo says the motorsport-derived system also substantially improves the 0 to 62 mph vehicle performance by 1.5 seconds. From the middle of this year, the same technology will also be trialled on a UK public bus route as part of a bus programme with Wrightbus, one of Europe’s leading suppliers of public transport vehicles. The technology is expected to deliver significant emissions reduction and offer an attractive operator payback.

Torotrak chief executive officer Jeremy Deering says Flybrid® KERS technology will play an important role in emissions reduction because it is affordable and adaptable: “Flybrid’s system is proven across a range of applications including motorsport, it can be quickly integrated with existing vehicle designs and is far more affordable than competing electrical systems,” he says. “The development programmes we have with major vehicle manufacturers show just how seriously they are taking pure-mechanical KERS as part of their solution to pressing fuel-economy and emissions requirements.”

He goes on to explain the fuel and emissions savings could be substantial in industrial vehicles, as JCB claim the technology could reduce carbon emissions by up to 16 tonnes for a 20 tonne machine. “Off-highway and industrial vehicles generally operate in a very intensive duty cycle, often with simple actions repeated many hundreds of times a day. Every time the vehicle or a loaded component slows down, energy is wasted,” he explains. “Capturing that energy will reduce fuel bills as well as cut emissions. It will also reduce wear on consumables like brakes, which can be another big cost for operators, and because it allows engine downsizing, Flybrid® KERS can improve packaging efficiency, increase payload and reduce noise.”

Further information

Click here for the RNS announcing the Technology Strategy Board award with JCB: www.torotrak.com/news/2014/04/technology-strategy-board-funding-for-excavator-project-in-collaboration-with-jcb

About Torotrak

Torotrak is the global innovator in gearless traction drive technology that increases efficiency and reduces CO2 emissions in vehicles. The variable-drive technology is being developed for main drive transmissions, superchargers and engine auxiliary applications, substantially improving fuel economy. Following the acquisition of Flybrid Automotive Ltd in 2014, the company’s flywheel technology portfolio includes a range of highly efficient, lightweight and low cost flywheel Energy Recovery Systems. The company has shown how its technologies can reduce CO2 emissions, conserve energy, save costs and significantly boost efficiency. Customers include major vehicle manufacturers across road cars, buses, commercial vehicles, off-highway, and their tier-one technology suppliers, with several programmes now evaluating production-ready designs. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: TRK).  www.torotrak.com