HyKinesys, a California company, designs, develops and manufactures next-generation automotive hybrid systems which can increase fuel efficiency by 50+%, improve vehicle performance and reduce the cost of hybridizing vehicles – apparently conflicting objectives, but successfully resolved in HyKinesys's proprietary and patented surge power systems.
The PowerBeam hybrid drive uses kinetic (i.e. flywheel-based) energy storage rather than batteries to recover, temporarily store and reuse energy normally lost to braking in road vehicles. It also assists a downsized, more fuel-efficient engine to deliver the same acceleration as an engine more than twice its size. PowerBeam systems can dramatically improve performance and/or significantly increase mileage (both city and highway) for a broad spectrum of vehicles, from small family cars through taxis and limos to large city buses and delivery vehicles.
As governments and industry begin to grapple with the triple threats of climate change, energy security and high oil prices, improving energy efficiency usually tops the lists of proposed remedies for all three. One major area to address is road transport, which is responsible for the majority of oil consumed in most economies, including the United States and Europe. It is here that HyKinesys is expected to make a major contribution with its PowerBeam hybrid systems.
Reducing fuel consumption helps to reduce oil imports, contain the growth in the cost of road transport and lower CO2 emissions from vehicles. It also improves the credibility of plans to move towards biofuels, because the total volumes required will be lower, ensuring there will be enough biofuels to go around. For example, substantial success in reducing total fuel consumption on the ground should ensure that aviation can migrate to zero or low CO2 fuels without fuel costs rising to levels where they throttle airlines.
Both the Chairman of Toyota and the President of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) have predicted that most road vehicles will eventually be able to recover most of the energy wasted in braking, store it temporarily and reuse it for subsequent acceleration. This process is often referred to as 'regenerative braking', and is the key new function provided in most hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius. Back in 2006, the FIA chose to place an article by the CEO of HyKinesys between two by the FIA's president in announcing that regenerative braking was to be permitted and encouraged in motor sport, see:-
Last year, Porsche chose to use a flywheel-based system in its 911 Hybrid GT3 racer rather than batteries, a decision which has already resulted in several race wins this year.
In this introduction, the devices that provide regenerative braking are described as 'surge power systems' rather than 'hybrid drives' because they are capable of supporting fuel cells just as well as internal combustion engines. In fact, they are essentially energy-source 'agnostic', which means they will remain the 'foundation technology' for most vehicles in most regions, however the mix of fuels and power sources evolve, from battery-only through plug-in hybrids to inductance charging on the move, backed up by solar and fusion power, eventually.
Most automotive manufacturers have realised that any high performance road car that is not a hybrid will soon be perceived as 'old tech' and will be doomed to lose market share, because it won't be as accelerative or as eco-friendly and efficient, and because it won't project the desired image. Now factor in the European Commission's intention to drive down the CO2 output average to, first, less than 120 g/km, and then 95 g/km. Either most cars will be taxed off the road or fuel efficiency will become the most significant aspect of their design. Only the most efficient form of surge power unit will be good enough. We believe we have it.