GenShock suspension system could generate electricity as you drive

By on September 2, 2013, 3:30 PM
car, electricity, suspension, genshock, levant power, zf, kinetic energy

Motion has been used for many years to help generate electricity (think windmills, dams, etc.) around the globe but soon, the technology could find its way into automobiles – joining other components like regenerative braking in the electric power-regeneration process.

A company called Levant Power has come up with an active suspension system called GenShock that is capable of recapturing energy as you travel in your vehicle. And now, they have another company – ZF – onboard to help build it.

Here’s how it works. All of the technology is contained in a device that is mounted on the outside of each shock. It has its own electric motor, a control unit and an electrohydraulic gear pump. As a vehicle is driving over uneven surfaces, taking a turn at high speeds or during acceleration and braking, the motion of the piston in the damper pushes fluid past the gear pump.

This in turn drives the electric motor and converts the kinetic energy into electricity that is then fed back into the vehicle’s power supply. A bumpier road will result in more movement of the damper and in turn, more electricity will be generated.

As an added bonus, portable vehicle jacks could be a thing of the past as well. That’s because the suspension system is able to raise and lower each wheel individually. This would make it much easier to change a flat tire on the side of the road.

No word yet on when the technology will make its way into passenger cars but we do know that it is at least affordable.




User Comments: 29

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JC713 JC713 said:

This is fantastic...

VitalyT VitalyT said:

It can't beat the proverbial carrot...

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can see it now, people are rating the quality of roads by amount of electrical power their shocks produce. First question is how much power would be required, before the road qualifies for resurface. And then another question. Would you want the road resurfaced, if your shocks produce less power afterward?

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

"A bumpier road will result in more movement of the damper and in turn, more electricity will be generated."

Hahahahaha! Australians will have no need for fuel if this tech comes in!

JC713 JC713 said:

This would be good for off roading. But seriously, this is horrible for newly paved roads. I guess it can work in tandem with regenerative braking to produce power.

Guest said:

Why not from aerodynamic? the hood is pushed at high speed, convert that push in electricity etc..

BlueDrake said:

Why not from aerodynamic? the hood is pushed at high speed, convert that push in electricity etc..

Nice concept in theory. Feel free to elaborate on your idea. :P

1 person liked this | dennis777 dennis777 said:

This will be good in the Philippines but only in summer. Superhighway and roads in the Philippines are like the moon with so many craters and bumps. In the rainy season this would not be useful unless it could float the car. :P

misor misor said:

Btw, fred flintstone's car is 'self-generating'.

on real-world science, maybe tesla car or other techs such as the hybrid car can use this 'genshock' electricity technology.

(if GPUs and CPUs are getting hotter, maybe someone will be able to make a power generation device to power something.

EU is for green energy...maybe it should ban consumer GPUs with 'massive' power requirement to force GPU makers to release eco-friendly products.

CPUs and RAMs have lower operating voltage than ever before so maybe its time for the GPU to follow suit.)

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think this idea would be better used on the side of an ocean liner. Those waves are never ending, up and down, up and down.

1 person liked this | Jotticage Jotticage said:

Why not use the cooling fan to generate electricity?

Extant said:

... I have to get my head out of the gutter.

First thought on this was, having sex in your car would generate electricity! But that's if the system works while the engine is off as well.

hammer2085 said:

Would not tires be better at this? Like if the cars move, tire rotate and electricity be produced?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Would not tires be better at this? Like if the cars move, tire rotate and electricity be produced?
Using the tires would be counter productive. Creating power with the tires would make them harder to rotate. The idea would be to use natural forces to generate power, such as solar, wind, or gravity. In the instance of moving automobiles, wind would create more drag than is useful for power generation.

mailpup mailpup said:

As an added bonus, portable vehicle jacks could be a thing of the past as well. That's because the suspension system is able to raise and lower each wheel individually. This would make it much easier to change a flat tire on the side of the road.
Many cars already no longer come with jacks because they also don't come with spare tires. So using the suspension system to raise and lower each wheel is of limited value as more and more cars come this way. Presumably a high tech car like this would likely be one of these.

Would not tires be better at this? Like if the cars move, tire rotate and electricity be produced?
Hybrids like the Prius already use deceleration to generate electricity to put back into its system. Of course, it doesn't during acceleration or cruising because perpetual motion still isn't perfected.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Hybrids like the Prius already use deceleration to generate electricity to put back into its system. Of course, it doesn't during acceleration or cruising because perpetual motion still isn't perfected.

Yeah, it has been, (or at least damned near). Just shoot the car into space, and steer around high gravity potholes such as black holes. You can use the occasional star for a slingshot, but you may have to tap the gas a bit on the backside coming out....

Why not from aerodynamic? the hood is pushed at high speed, convert that push in electricity etc..
Nice try. Today's autos all all honed to airstream splitting perfection in wind tunnels.. I think the drag induced diverting the air flow would more than offset any capacity for power generation. Air is compressable, (as you likely already know), but it also creates more drag, the faster you go in a logarithmic manner. Go twice as fast, get four times the drag. Something along those lines.

This sort of thing does work in jet engines. Which BTW, get the worst JP-6 mileage ever.

Why not use the cooling fan to generate electricity?
Cooling fans on cars have had clutches for decades. The idea being airflow through the radiator is sufficient to cool the engine (above about 35MPH ?), and running the fan above a certain speed, just inhibits airflow and creates drag.

I can see it now, people are rating the quality of roads by amount of electrical power their shocks produce. First question is how much power would be required, before the road qualifies for resurface. And then another question. Would you want the road resurfaced, if your shocks produce less power afterward?
In the case of bad roads, I doubt the electricity produced would offset the cost of suspension repairs. You're liable to have people aiming at potholes to charge the batteries.

I just paid ten bucks for a "Cree" LED light bulb. I know that in ten years it will have paid for itself. Will I live that long? Anybody's guess I suppose.

The more crap like this you pile onto automobiles, the higher the cost of parts and repairs will be. Not to mention exorbitant labor costs for much more complex repair work.

Guest said:

Near future:

in Soviet Russia electric cars charge power grid

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

It's a step in the right direction but let's just get rid of the internal combustion engine altogether first. Our reliance on fossil fuels is ridiculous.

Emexrulsier said:

Would be great in the UK with 99% of every road surface having a squillion potholes

MilwaukeeMike said:

I just paid ten bucks for a "Cree" LED light bulb. I know that in ten years it will have paid for itself. Will I live that long? Anybody's guess I suppose.

The more crap like this you pile onto automobiles, the higher the cost of parts and repairs will be. Not to mention exorbitant labor costs for much more complex repair work.

These shocks might be a little different though. We might not be spending a few hundred dollars to save a nickel every month is extra electricity, we might be spending the extra money to have an electric car with extra range.

I assume these are meant only for electric vehicles, and if they are efficient enough to affect range they might be worthwhile.

Why are we all talking about potholes? You can compress your shocks far more by just swerving back and forth. Imagine some poor sap in an EV with dead batteries swerving like a drunkard down the freeway so his shocks can put out enough juice to get him home. We'd all be driving like Indy cars on a warm-up lap

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Why are we all talking about potholes? You can compress your shocks far more by just swerving back and forth.
Because hitting potholes are more realistic than repetitiously swerving for idiotic reasons. In all honesty repetitiously swerving is probably only done while dogging potholes. So this begs the question, would you generate more power by hitting or swerving to avoid the pothole? I'm with @captaincranky save Wear-and-Tear by avoiding the potholes, regardless which produces more power.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

....[ ].... You can compress your shocks far more by just swerving back and forth. Imagine some poor sap in an EV with dead batteries swerving like a drunkard down the freeway so his shocks can put out enough juice to get him home. We'd all be driving like Indy cars on a warm-up lap

You do realize those tires on Indy cars don't even last the whole 500 mile race, don't you?

And it's not as if the tires that cross the finish line are going to be used the next Sunday.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Because hitting potholes are more realistic than repetitiously swerving for *****ic reasons. In all honesty repetitiously swerving is probably only done while dogging potholes. So this begs the question, would you generate more power by hitting or swerving to avoid the pothole? I'm with @captaincranky save Wear-and-Tear by avoiding the potholes, regardless which produces more power.

Well, first off, I was joking, but unless your road is more potholes than road I would think swerving back and forth would be a great way to make your shocks compress and release.

You do realize those tires on Indy cars don't even last the whole 500 mile race, don't you?

And it's not as if the tires that cross the finish line are going to be used the next Sunday.

Yeah, I know... I only used that example because the only time I've ever seen cars swerve back and forth across a lane is when race cars are getting ready for the green flag. I get it that Indy cars aren't swerving for the same reason.

My bad on the sarcasm not being obvious enough I guess...

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

....[ ].....Yeah, I know... I only used that example because the only time I've ever seen cars swerve back and forth across a lane is when race cars are getting ready for the green flag. I get it that Indy cars aren't swerving for the same reason.

My bad on the sarcasm not being obvious enough I guess...

Surely you've heard of, "fighting fire with fire", haven't you?

Here, I'll give you another more overt example:

"I've endured warnings, bannings, and title strippings, just to be here with you, Mike"!

RenGood08 RenGood08 said:

That...is pretty wicked. Nice.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I remember reading about this tech years ago, and it was going to be tested on military vehicles first... Ideal scenario, really, letting the off-road action of a military Humvee keep their electronics packages and battery fully charged. Since originally hearing about them, I've always thought they would be a great additional component to adding efficiency into electric and hybrid vehicles.

People seem to be getting hung up on the "pothole" scenario, but in reality most roads have a very wide range of minor flaws and bumps that this type of system could use to harvest what is essentially discarded spring/fluid damping energy. Provided it is responsive enough, one could even consider using more solid tire systems (such as foam filled or tweels) to reduce natural tire damping of bumps and get even more energy harvesting... As long as it doesn't result in a tooth jarring experience, that is!

Guest said:

Haha stupid idea ...

the added cost on each shock will never pay it self off in a life time of a car

but at least cars mfg will use this as an excuse to charge even more for a car!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

....[ ].....but at least cars mfg will use this as an excuse to charge even more for a car!
Uh, they don't actually need an excuse....:eek:

However, they could "ride" these shocks all the way to a "justification" for charging more.

1 person liked this | Pan Wah said:

It won't work. You can't get more energy out than you put in (Scotty's 7th law of thermodynamics), the energy required to climb in and out of the potholes or change the angular momentum as you swerve like an Indycar is greater than even the theoretical output, let alone the real one.

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