While automobile manufacturers have been refarming energy from the braking system of their cars, known as regenerative braking, for some years now, the technology hasn’t extended much beyond this point. In layman’s terms, conventional braking uses brake calipers to stop the forward movement of the wheels, generating tremendous heat, hybrid and electric cars spin their motors in reverse, both to slow down the vehicle, and harness the electricity it generates.
Audi engineers have taken the process of energy-generation to the next level with their prototype suspension. The new system, known as eROT, manages the kinetic energy generated by the car’s movement around bends and bumps by means of the shock absorber. Unlike the traditional, vertical shock absorbers, eROT has replaced them with horizontally mounted electric motors fitted to each wheel. While the process of refarming the energy produced by the suspension may be different to regenerative braking, the usage thereof remains the same, and used to save on fuel. The eROT system not only generates electricity, but also smoothes the ride on bumpy and winding roads. The system is sensitive enough to pick up every little movement the wheel makes, and feeds the 48-volt battery system.
Audi has claimed the eROT system reduces carbon emissions by 4.8g of CO2 for every mile driven. While many are unable to quantify such details, I’m sure any saving on emissions, coupled with the saving on fuel costs are always welcome. The suspension can also be adjusted to your liking, based on comfort, by means of onboard software. Audi said that it aims to fit the energy-saving technology into future production cars are more testing and approvals. This will most likely trickle to the premium range as an optional extra before becoming more widespread after a few years.