Efficient ‘flybus’ in pipeline

Posted on 1 Dec 2009 by The Manufacturer

Torotrak is leading a government backed consortium to develop an efficient mechanical hybrid system for city buses.

The government-backed Technology Strategy Board is to help fund a new £1m British-led ‘green research’ programme involving a flywheel-based mechanical hybrid Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for fitment to buses and commercial vehicles.

Transmission specialist Torotrak (Development) Ltd, the world leader in full-toroidal traction drive technology, will head the new “Flybus” programme. Other consortium partners include Ricardo UK, Optare plc and Allison Transmission Inc. The subsequent companies will support the project with hardware and integration expertise.

The mechanical hybrid system for city buses will involve a kinetic energy recovery system using Torotrak’s patented Continuously Variable Transmission and a high-speed composite flywheel to capture and store braking energy. The system could cut fuel consumption by around 20%.

“We’re convinced that the ‘Flybus’ mechanical hybrid system will provide a practical and very cost effective alternative to current diesel electric hybrid technology and importantly, can be retrofitted to existing buses”, said Optare CEO Jim Sumner.