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.