12.8.2016Audi's prototype suspension generates electricity
Audi is developing a new suspension system that can recuperate energy which is otherwise lost. The 'eROT' set-up uses electro-mechanical rotary dampers in place of more conventional hydraulic ones, which not only allows the car's suspension to charge a battery but also offers a more comfortable ride.
Audi's idea is that, with increasing amounts of electrified components in cars and the development of mild hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure EVs, energy capture plays an increasingly important role.
Dr Stefan Knirsch, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi AG, explains: "Every pothole, every bump, every curve induces kinetic energy in the car. Today's dampers absorb this energy, which is lost in the form of heat. With the new electro-mechanical damper system in the 48-volt electrical system, we put this energy to use. It also presents us and our customers with entirely new possibilities for adjusting the suspension."
The eROT suspension is actively controlled and adapts to the road's surface and driving style. Damper characteristics are extremely flexible, while the small components allow for more interior space too.
On top of this it is able to convert kinetic energy during compression and rebound into electricity thanks to the lever arm being connected via a series of gears to an electric motor. Audi has recorded an average recuperation output of 100-150 watts during testing, varying from 3 watts on a smooth freshly paved road, to 613 watts on a rough secondary road.
With this electricity harnessed for use in a 48=volt mild hybrid system, the CO2 savings work out as up to 3 g/km.
With early testing proving promising, Audi is pushing ahead with developing the eROT prototype, The next version is planned for 2017 and will be the main electrical system in a new Audi model.