F1-inspired bus tech scoops innovation accolade

Thursday, November 27, 2014 - 09:00
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The Flybrid KERS

A UK-designed, Formula 1-inspired energy recovery system for buses has taken first prize at the SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation

Torotrak Group’s Flybrid KERS which has been designed for buses and commercial vehicles uses a fully mechanical system to store energy from a vehicle’s motion, which can be transferred back to the drive system to power the vehicle. It beat off stiff competition from the Dearman Engine Company and Jaguar Land Rover, both of which received Highly Commended status.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive and a member of the award judging panel, said: “Not only [is Torotrak’s Flybrid KERS] a genuinely innovative concept, it is also in an advanced stage of development with huge potential to influence the wider automotive sector. SMMT will continue to help the UK build on its position as a global leader for automotive innovation.”

Sponsored by GKN and supported by The Times, the SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation demonstrates the wealth of design and engineering talent in the UK automotive sector by rewarding the most groundbreaking concepts each year. The award started in 2010, and Torotrak Group follows in the footsteps of Gordon Murray Design, Jaguar Land Rover, Optare and Ford in winning the accolade.

Jeremy Deering, Chief Executive Officer, Torotrak, said, “Our system will be around one quarter the cost of a conventional battery electric hybrid as well as substantially smaller and around a quarter the weight.

“Third party validated test results have been achieved with a thoroughly modern, lightweight, high efficiency vehicle from Wrightbus, indicating ongoing opportunities to provide the sector with a low-cost route to reduced emissions and substantially lower operating costs.”

“Winning such a prestigious award shows that there is real faith in the commercial potential of our purely-mechanical hybridisation system for heavy vehicle applications, and that by making hybridisation more accessible and affordable, we can make a real impact on fleet emissions and running costs,” continued Deering.

To win the award, Torotrak had to get through a judging session at the hands of some of the most influential experts in the UK automotive sector. The panel featured: Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT; Dave Salt, Chief Engineer, GKN Driveline; Robert Lea, Industrial Editor, The Times and Jim Higginbotham, Head of Specialist Markets, Lombard.

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