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PHOTO CAPTION: Flybrid Automotive's KERS energy storage flywheel.

Flywheels: Alternatives to Hybrid Car Batteries?

Using recovered kinetic energy, flywheels like those now being used in Formula One race cars can improve the fuel efficiency and performance of ICE vehicles.

Published: 28-Jan-2014

Consider the hybrid car. Halfway between the traditional motor and the fully electric Nissan Leaf or the Volkswagen e-Up!, they're a nod to green motoring. While retaining a conventional diesel engine, they can harvest kinetic energy from the car's braking motion and use that to power an additional electric motor.

But batteries are energy-intensive to manufacture, and the weight of a battery pack can add more than 50kg to a vehicle's mass, which means increased fuel usage – though hybrids are still get more miles per gallon than the conventional versions of the same models.

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