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Mechatronics, Systems Engineering and Automation

Paris, France
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Review of the battery electric vehicle propulsion systems incorporating flywheel energy storage

Author(s): Dhand A, Pullen K


The development of battery electric vehicles (BEV) must continue since this can lead us towards a zero emission transport system. There has been an advent of the production BEVs in recent years; however their low range and high cost still remain the two important drawbacks. The battery is the element which strongly affects the cost and range of the BEV. The batteries offer either high specific power or high specific energy but not both. To provide the BEVs with the characteristic to compete with conventional vehicles it is beneficial to hybridize the energy storage combining a high energy battery with a high power source. This shields the battery from peak currents and improves its capacity and life. There are various devices which could qualify as a secondary storage system for the BEV such as high power battery, supercapacitor and high speed flywheel (FW). This paper aims to review a specific type of hybridisation of energy storage which combines batteries and high speed flywheels. The flywheel has been used as a secondary energy system in BEVs from the early 1970s when the oil crises triggered an interest in BEVs. Since the last decade the interest in flywheels has strengthened and their application in the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) in Formula 1 has further bolstered the case for flywheels. With a number of automotive manufacturers getting involved in developing flywheels for road applications, the authors believe commercial flywheel based powertrains are likely to be seen in the near future. It is hence timely to produce a review of research and development in the area of flywheel assisted BEVs.

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