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.