• fb_1510606196 avatar Carl Posted: 8/20/2009 7:07pm PDT

    I do not think that Toyota is wrong to wait. The Volt from Government Motors is just another game from the Obama administration to make us think there is progress. Thirty years ago researchers concluded that all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars were a long way off. Today we have nickel-metal-hybrid and lithium-ion batteries to give us more range than we did the. But neither of those systems have the quick recharge abilities that we get at the gasoline/diesel fuel pump. Thirty years ago there was some excitement about another quick charge system. It was the flywheel powered transit bus that had its flywheel spun up at each bus-stop location when its “trolley bar” contacted the electric supply at the overhead contact nearby. I recall that it was demonstrated pretty well in Europe. But, hey, realistically, the gold standard of range in the auto industry is a 300 mile jump on one tank full.

  • fb_1510606196 avatar Carl Posted: 8/20/2009 7:10pm PDT

    Following on from above. I found this description in Wikipedia. So, now I know that even that range-extending idea failed. Tsk tsk.
    The concept of a flywheel powered bus was developed and brought to fruition during the 1940s by Oerlikon (of Switzerland), with the intention of creating an alternative to battery-electric buses for quieter, lower-frequency routes, where full overhead-wire electrification could not be justified.
    Rather than carrying an internal combustion engine or batteries, or connecting to overhead powerlines, a gyrobus carries a large flywheel that is spun at up to 3,000 RPM by a "squirrel cage" motor.[1] Power for charging the flywheel was sourced by means of three booms mounted on the vehicle's roof, which contacted charging points located as required or where appropriate (at passenger stops en route, or at terminals, for instance). To obtain tractive power, capacitors would excite the flywheel's charging motor so that it became a generator, in this way transforming the energy stored in the flywheel back into electricity. Vehicle braking was electric, and some of the energy was recycled back into the flywheel, thereby extending its range.