We all wish for roads as smooth as a runway but that’s hardly the case. Potholes and bumps are a daily occurrence and while we curse the pain they have the ability to inflict on our backs, Audi has dreamed up a new way of putting that energy to use. It has created a new active suspension it’s calling the eROT which uses electromechanical shocks instead of hydraulic ones to convert road bumps into electricity. The concept isn’t that different than the one used in regenerative braking by electric and hybrid cars.
Audi’s Dr. Stefan Knirsch says that “every pothole, every bump, every curve induces kinetic energy in the car,” and that with the new electromechanical damper system in the 48 volt electrical system, Audi is putting this energy to good use.
The system converts kinetic energy into electrical energy by using a lever arm that captures up-and-down wheel motion and beams it to a 48 volt alternator where it’s converted into electricity with average recuperation being up to 150 watts. This could be as little as 3 watts on a smooth freeway and as high as 613 watts on a bumpy country road.
Now that’s certainly not enough to power an electric car or even crucial components like the AC, but it can provide power for other accessories and thus enable the electric or hybrid car to get more mileage out of a single charge. That’s why these cars have regenerative braking in the first place.
Audi says that the first tests for this system have been promising and that it’s plausible that the company might use the eROT technology in future cars.