One of the key features of a hybrid or electric vehicle is the presence of regenerative braking. This allows these cars to recover some of the energy that would otherwise be lost in the form of heat when the brake pads are engaged.
In a regenerative braking system, every press of the brakes engages the vehicle's electric motor, only in reverse. This causes the car to slow down while the turning of the motor generates electricity and keeps batteries charged. As a result, hybrids and electric cars can get significantly better mileage efficiency than standard vehicles.
"Audi has created a prototype regenerative shock absorber."
As the federal government continues to push for better mileage standards on the road, automakers need to look in a new direction to gain further savings. They may have found a way.
Mashable reports that Audi has created a prototype regenerative shock absorber, which will charge a vehicle's batteries using the force of bumps and potholes on the road.
The system, known as eROT, works by replacing standard shock absorbers with small motors, which spin any time the wheels move vertically. While individual bumps may not generate much of anything, every little bit of energy can add up over time. In fact, according to the news source, Audi claims that the system will reduce carbon emissions by 4.8 grams per mile.
It may be some time before such a system makes it into consumer vehicles. But shocks are important components that require attention from a vehicle testing service to ensure that they are functioning properly. This is especially true when additional complexity is built in.