GKN and Go-Ahead Group to install carbon fiber flywheels on 500 city buses

GKN Hybrid Power uses F1 technology to improve fuel efficiency of London buses

Go-Ahead Group (Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.) has placed an order for GKN Hybrid Power (Oxfordshire, U.K.) to supply 500 of its Gyrodrive systems to help reduce emissions in U.K. 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, which recently helped Audi’s R18 e-tron quattro in its third consecutive win at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans race last month. Gyrodrive will help increase the efficiency of every bus to which it is fitted by using less fuel and therefore reducing carbon emissions.

The system uses a high speed flywheel made of carbon fiber 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, resulting in more than 20 percent fuel savings at a significantly lower cost than battery hybrid alternatives.

The GKN and Go-Ahead Group 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 employ the technology in cities it serves across the UK, initially in London and Oxford.

Philip Swash, CEO GKN Land Systems, said: ‘This is an important milestone for GKN Hybrid Power. We’ve worked in close partnership with Go-Ahead throughout the development of this innovative technology and it’s very exciting to move into the production phase.”

CEO of Go-Ahead, David Brown, added:  “We have a strong record in continually reducing our carbon emissions and flywheel technology will help us make buses an even more environmentally responsible choice and encourage more people to travel by public transport. The flywheel technology helps us to reduce our fuel consumption and C02 emissions so improving air quality for all those living, working and visiting the city.”

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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