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Old 30th August 2013, 01:53   #1
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Default ZF and Levant Power team up for world's first Active Regenerative Suspension

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Brake energy regeneration has become common place in most high end cars, with the technology slowly percolating to budget cars even as emission norms get tighter and car buyers demand better fuel economy. In due course of time, regenerative braking could become as common place as the electric power steering, which has replaced hydraulic power steering across most car segments.

In a similar bid to boost efficiency and cut down on tail pipe emissions, car suspensions could soon embark on the regenerative route. High performance cars come with active suspension systems that can be adjusted through a flick of a button on the dashboard.

Name:  Mercedes Benz AirMatic Suspension.jpg
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Broadly speaking, active suspension systems vary the ride quality of a car either by using electro-hydraulics (Mercedes Benz Magic Body Control) or air bellows (Mercedes Benz AirMatic). In high end cars equipped with active suspension, the driver usually has the option of choosing between comfort and sport modes to vary the ride quality and handling dynamics of the car.

ZF and Levant Power team up for world's first Active Regenerative Suspension-mercedes-benz-active-body-control.jpg

In comfort mode, cars usually deliver a plush ride quality at the expense of sharp handling while the sport mode makes the car's suspension stiffer, thereby delivering sharper handling at the expense of a plusher ride. Active suspension systems use a fair bit of electricity to handle the complex processes of varying the damping of a suspension according to the requirements of the driver and the road conditions.

The electric power to modulate the active suspension is supplied by the car's battery, which is in-turn recharged by the engine's alternator. So, reducing the load on this battery by finding surplus power through regenerative techniques will result in the engine working less harder to recharge the battery.

ZF and Levant Power team up for world's first Active Regenerative Suspension-zflevant-active-regenerative-suspension.jpg

This will in turn increase fuel efficiency and reduce tail pipe emissions. The whole process is similar to how brake energy regeneration boosts fuel efficiency. German autoparts maker ZF has tied up with American company Levant Power to develop an active suspension system that uses a regenerative system to minimize power/fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions.

The system uses the swaying motion of the suspension's damper piston to harness electric power. ZF and Levant have developed a valve system that uses the swaying motion of the damper piston of the suspension to pump oil contained in the suspension system. This oil will in turn drive an electric pump motor.

This process, ZF and Levant claim, pumps back electricity into the car's battery, thus minimizing usage of fuel by the engine's alternator to recharge the battery. This system will work best on roads with plenty of imperfections as it will allow the damper's piston to move quite a bit and in turn harness electricity through the ZF-Levant valve system.

While this system will reduce power consumed by active suspension systems found on most high end cars, eventually it could be put to use on budget cars, serving as an alternative to brake energy regeneration systems, by re-charging the car battery without the help of the alternator.

Last edited by JayPrashanth : 30th August 2013 at 02:00. Reason: News Link Added
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Old 30th August 2013, 15:24   #2
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Default Re: ZF and Levant Power team up for world's first Active Regenerative Suspension


I feel like this might be taking it too far! (ie. unnecessary complexity for minimal gain).

Auto makers seem to be in an extreme race to squeeze out every little bit of efficiency from their cars these days. Not a bad thing, but i can't help but think about the additional time and resources (/materials) going in to this.

At the end of the day, why can't we just have smoother roads


PS - This reminds me a lot of the "charge your iphone by walking" shoes and other such stuff we see pop up on 'green blogs' every so often. However, with those i just can't imagine the power generated being enough.

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Old 2nd September 2013, 03:06   #3
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Default Re: ZF and Levant Power team up for world's first Active Regenerative Suspension

I might well be wrong, but isn't this type of suspension a little energy-greedy in the first place? Using regenerated energy (which if used to recharge batteries is hugely inefficient in the average car installation) perhaps makes it slightly less inefficient.

As usual the gullible are being taken for a ride, albeit a slightly smoother one than usual.

For anyone who has the slightest natural engineering ability, it is quite obvious that the movement of the suspension itself provides a lot of 'free' energy which can be used to improve its lot. Too much slightly narrow high-level 'education' and not enough practical knowledge which has been learned through trial, error and study.

There is just a hint of what is possible, here: http://www.caranddriver.com/features...lained-feature
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