Audi has stepped up its game in the electric car industry with the introduction of the ‘eROT’ suspension. The eROT suspension uses regenerative braking to turn heat into useful electricity. Audi has been working on a prototype system called ‘eROT’ which involves the the seesaw movement of the shock absorbers to generate electricity.
The principle behind eROT is easily explained: “Every pothole, every bump, every curve induces kinetic energy in the car. Today’s dampers absorb this energy, which is lost in the form of heat,” said Dr.-Ing. Stefan Knirsch, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG.
According to Audi, this energy-recovering suspension has the ability to provide extra electrical power and increase suspension adjustability. In the suspension system, a lever arm absorbs the motion of the wheel as it moves over different surfaces. Through gearing, the arm transfers the motion to an electric motor which converts it into electricity. Audis findings resulted in the recovery of an average 100 to 150 watts of power by eROT during testing on German roads, corresponding to carbon-dioxide emissions cuts of 4.8 grams per mile. The eROT is claimed to offer greater adjustability which is important to strike a balance between ride comfort and handling. To make balancing easier, rebound rates and the shock absorber’s compression are set independently of each other.
The eROT setup requires a higher-power 48-volt electrical system. As currently configured, its lithium-ion battery offers an energy capacity of 0.5 kilowatt hours and peak output of 13 kilowatts. A DC converter connects the 48-volt electrical subsystem to the 12-volt primary electrical system, which includes a high-efficiency, enhanced output generator.
Though no concrete production plans for eROT, there are indications however to put a 48-volt electrical system into production in 2017 on a new model.