Heavy engineering company GKN Land Systems has ramped up production to meet growing demand for its hybrid electric flywheel bus technology.
The Gyrodrive electric flywheel hybrid is becoming a popular retrofit for bus operators keen to save fuel and improve emissions from their fleet, following successful trials of the system on buses in London.
GKN is increasing its UK production as operators seek for a low-cost alternative to battery hybrid systems. The Gyrodrive offers fuel savings of around 25%, with its pay-off period for operators estimated to be three to four years.
Paul Swash, CEO for GKN Land Systems, said, “Gyrodrive is the first hybrid technology that makes economic sense for bus operators. In the next five years hybrid and electric systems will become increasingly more important to commercial, off-highway and agricultural vehicles. As we increase production volumes, GKN’s economies of scale will make Gyrodrive’s cost and benefits more appealing.”
The system uses a high-speed composite flywheel paired with an electric motor to regenerate the energy exerted under braking. The system turns on the traction motor located on one of the axles to slow the vehicle and generate electricity.
GKN aims to use the technology on other commercial vehicles, with refuse and delivery trucks operating in urban environments earmarked to trial the technology. It also wants to develop the system for other heavy vehicles, with stop and start or with back and forth duty cycles, such as agricultural and construction machines.