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By Drew Johnson

Straying from the norm, Jaguar has begun testing a flywheel-based hybrid system. Not unlikely the systems used by Porsche and Ferrari, Jaguar is currently using an XF sedan to test the technology’s viability.

Dubbed Flywheel Hybrid System for Premium Vehicles (FHSPV), the project is a $4.7 million collaborative effort between Jaguar and British engineering firms Flybrid Systems, Torotrak, Xtrac and Prodrive. The project is also receiving funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board.

As with other flywheel hybrid systems, Jaguar’s uses a composite flywheel – which can spin at up to 60,000rpm – to store energy, essentially replacing the battery system in a typical hybrid. That flywheel, which is ‘charged’ during normal driving, can then send power back to the vehicle at any time during the driving cycle.

The Jaguar system is capable of storing 60kW, which translates to a boost of 80 horsepower. Although that peak power can only be used for about seven seconds, Jaguar says the system is returning a 20 percent improvement in overall fuel economy.

Jaguar says the flywheel system has some significant advantages over a typical hybrid setup, including “significantly lower” costs and better packaging. The flywheel system is also about 50 percent lighter than a standard hybrid system.

Jaguar is still weighing the flywheel system versus a typical hybrid system, but it remains possible that a ‘flybrid’ could be in the automaker’s future.



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