Audi has apparently been working on an innovative way to harness lost energy in the form of heat within conventional shock absorbers. The news comes by way of a conversation AutoExpress had with Audi’s Research and Development chief Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. This means by replacing the standard shock absorber units with generator systems, the car will generate electricity as it bumps down the road.
“When working hard over a bumpy road, the dampers are perhaps 100 to 125 degrees.,” Hackenberg tells AutoExpress. “This energy is wasted as heat into the atmosphere.” Though specific details of the technology are still unknown, capturing that energy is likely to happen with a rotating generator unit inside the suspension dampers. When the suspension is compressed, the generator produces electricity.
That power can then be sent into a hybrid car ’s battery systems for powering the vehicle. Conversely, the power could be used more immediately to power ancillary systems like electronics and HVAC controls.
What’s more, Hackenberg hinted at the system’s implementation into performance cars as well. “Because we can send energy back into the damper, you will have an independently variable suspension.” This will be able to counter act body roll through tight corners.
Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s power-generating suspension system.
Why It Matters
Perhaps one of the most idealistic vehicles Audi could employ these dampers on is theAudi A3 e-tron.
Sadly, this technology is only hearsay at this point. We don’t have hard details to go on, and it’s unclear whether Audi will implement this sort of system in a production vehicle, let alone a concept . Only time will tell, but the idea seems to be a worthwhile investment of time and engineering resources.
If Audi can supplement energy production through its shock absorbers, that means hybrid systems can become that much more powerful and more capable of moving a vehicle further or faster. Perhaps one of the most idealistic vehicles Audi could employ these dampers on is the Audi A3 e-tron . Check its information below.
Though it sips fuel, the A3 e-tron can still hit 62 mph in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 137 mph.
The A3 e-tron utilizes a 1.4-liter, TFSI four-cylinder to drive the front wheels with 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Additionally, an electric motor supplements the gasoline engine and brings the total output to 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. When the two are working together, the car has a respectable range of 584 miles and sips fuel to the tune of 158.61 mpg on the Euro test loop.
Recharging comes by way of coasting, brake energy regen, or by plugging it into a wall socket. With the standard plug, recharging only takes three to four hours. Though it sips fuel, the A3 e-tron can still hit 62 mph in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 137 mph.
Pricing is a bit steep at £29,950, or just over $50,000 U.S. dollars as of 6/27/2014. Though Audi has confirmed the A3 e-tron will come Stateside, we don’t have a solid word on when that will be.