First UK press drive for Flybrid KERS Volvo 

This week Volvo Cars UK and Torotrak welcomed key British press to experience the Volvo S60 KERS saloon at the home of British motor racing, Silverstone.

The technical demonstrator vehicle, a product of a four year working relationship between Flybrid and Volvo Cars Group, is fitted with a 60kW Flybrid KERS unit and is designed to show the real-world driving benefits of flywheel KERS for road cars. In this car, the KERS unit is fitted to the rear axle and drives only the rear wheels, whilst a punchy 256hp, 5 cylinder engine drives the front wheels. The result is an impressive combination of performance, improved handling, and significant real-world fuel economy improvements.

On a wet Stowe Circuit, almost within sight of Flybrid’s Silverstone offices, the Flybrid Volvo impressed drivers with its 80hp acceleration boost and part time KERS-powered 4 wheel drive, which offered extra grip on the wet surface. However, the real magic of this car is the combination of its grin-inducing performance and the 25% fuel efficiency improvement, which Volvo has shown in a real-world cycle.

The demonstrator has clever features that allow the engine to switch off as the car brakes and the KERS stores energy, and then use the flywheel power to accelerate again. Alternatively, the Flybrid KERS can be ‘charged’ by surplus power from the engine, and then the engine switched off whilst flywheel energy powers the car for short periods to maximise fuel economy. Volvo estimates that this would allow the engine to be switched off for as much as 50% of the time in city driving.

Volvo have investigated the technology for its ability to deliver performance, enable engine downsizing and offer significant fuel efficiency improvements, and have been pleased with the results of the testing. Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group, comments that; “The next step after completing these successful tests is to evaluate how the technology can be implemented in our upcoming car models.”

Read the full Volvo Cars Group press release online here.