GKN Develops All-New Flywheel Hybrid System For Audi Sport

GKN Develops All-New Flywheel Hybrid System For Audi Sport

GKN Hybrid Power’s Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid energy storage system has helped power the hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattro to third place at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the fourth consecutive podium result for the technology with Audi Sport. Audi driver André Lotterer set a new record lap time of 3m 17.47s with GKN’s technology on board.

In collaboration with Audi Sport, GKN developed a new generation of its Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid energy storage system for Audi’s 2015 Le Mans campaign. GKN increased the energy storage capacity and average power rating while retaining the same dimensions and mass, enabling Audi to compete this year in the 4-megajoule of hybrid energy category. The technological advances will accelerate GKN’s work to scale its disruptive technology into a lower-cost alternative to battery hybrids for transport applications.

Audi Sport’s Head of Engineering, Jörg Zander, said: “The advances in GKN’s energy storage system enabled Audi Sport to move up to the 4 megajoule category and to unlock more of the enormous potential for hybrid sports cars in endurance motorsport. The fierce competitive pressure of Le Mans produces technological advances that significantly improve lap times while also reducing fuel consumption.”

GKN Hybrid Power’s General Manager, Gordon Day, said: “Our work with Audi Sport is driving forward the development of our flywheel energy storage technology. Gyrodrive’s specific performance, in terms of power and storage capacity per unit mass, has moved on another significant step. These advances help to consolidate and strengthen the lead Gyrodrive has over the competition. Now with four Le Mans victories and hundreds of thousands of miles of on-road trials behind our technology, GKN has the winning solution for companies that want a reliable, high-performance alternative to battery hybrids.”

GKN’s energy storage system sits in the cockpit alongside the driver, delivering up to 4 megajoules of energy per lap and storing up to 750 kilojoules at any time. On acceleration, Gyrodrive feeds the energy back to the front axle where it produces more than 200kW of power.

Phil Swash, CEO, GKN Land Systems comments: “GKN Hybrid Power is focused on supplying complete hybrid solutions in commercial vehicle, motorsport, power and industrial markets. With the innovative might of the entire GKN Group behind this innovative technology, the advances made in partnership with Audi will transfer swiftly from the race circuit to roads as we scale up production. Gyrodrive is already delivering fuel savings of up to 25% on bus routes as a low-cost alternative to conventional battery systems across the UK.”

GKN is currently supplying the Gyrodrive system to bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis and transport operator Go-Ahead Group. The company is scaling up production as part of plans to offer the technology worldwide as a viable alternative to battery hybrids.

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