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Carbon fiber flywheel for London buses

News International-French

27 Aug 2014

The Go-Ahead Group and GKN plc have agreed a deal that will help reduce emissions in cities with the supply of electric flywheel systems to 500 buses over the next two years.

The innovative GKN system is based on Formula One race technology developed in the UK. It will help increase the efficiency of every bus to which it is fitted by using less fuel and therefore reducing carbon emissions. This same technology helped Audi’s R18 e-tron win at Le Mans last month.

Go-Ahead has placed an order for GKN Hybrid Power to supply 500 of its Gyrodrive systems to the transport operator. The Gyrodrive system uses a high speed flywheel made of carbon fibre to store the energy generated by a bus as it slows down to stop. It then uses the stored energy to power an electric motor which helps accelerate the bus back up to speed, generating fuel savings of more than 20% at a significantly lower cost than battery hybrid alternatives.

The agreement covers the supply of the complete Gyrodrive system, including the innovative GKN Hybrid Power flywheel as well as GKN’s advanced EVO electric motor, a GKN designed and manufactured gearbox, and installation. The system is designed to last for the life of the bus eliminating the need for any battery changes. Following successful trials on buses in London, Go-Ahead intends to utilise the technology in cities it serves across the UK, initially in London and Oxford.

GKN Hybrid Power is based in Oxfordshire, with final assembly taking place in a new facility at GKN’s site in Telford. The Gyrodrive technology is being further developed for other mass transit markets including trams, construction and agricultural equipment. Earlier this year GKN announced the acquisition of Williams Hybrid Power from Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited to form GKN Hybrid Power, which is focused on delivering complete hybrid solutions across multiple vehicle, power and industrial markets.

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