World’s renowned German autoparts makes has collaborated with Levant Power, a start up from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to come up with the world’s first active regenerative suspension (ARS). This development aims to reduce fuel consumption and pollution caused by cars. For now, the active regenerative suspension is aimed at cars. In the future, electric powered motorbikes and scooters could be fitted with such a system as it would boost charge levels of the battery.
How does the Active Regenerative Suspension (ARS) developed by ZF and Levant work?
The system uses a valve that will drive oil through the suspension, towards an electric motor/generator, each time the damper’s piston sways. The movement of the oil will result in the electric motor/generator generating electricity (somewhat like hydel power).
The generated electricity will charge the car’s battery. Since the alternator doesn’t need to charge the car’s battery as the suspension does the job of the alternator, the fuel consumption of the engine is reduced. Lower fuel consumption means lower pollution from the tail pipe of the automobile.
All in all, the Active Regenerative System works somewhat like Brake Energy Regeneration, and pumps back electricity to the car battery. The Active part of the ARS will allow the driver to control suspension settings. When the roads get rough, the suspension can be made soft to absorb bumps better.
On smooth roads, the driver can choose a stiff set up for best handling. So, this is the active part of the ARS. All in all, this new development could make the movement of the dampers in the suspension a new way of generating electricity.
We think that this technology would work best in electric cars and two wheelers, which actually need the battery to be charged for long times. So, if the battery can be charged constantly by the ARS and brake energy regeneration, the range per charge can be increased.