The concept

The Spin is a small urban electric vehicle with two flywheels to store energy. It’s designed to make short trips in town of 7 miles or less.

The background

I’ve been keeping  a close eye on the progress technologies related to flywheel accumulators and I’m wondering if it would be possible to incorporate a flywheel effectively in a small urban car? That’s mainly what the ‘Spin’ concept is about.

How it works

If you want to accumulate energy in a flywheel , the rotational speed of the wheel is far more important than its mass. Now, imagine a carbon fiber wheel that turns at very high speed supported by magnetic bearings encased in a vacuum housing. This sounds far fetched but the technology already exists in fixed applications. As an example , Beacon Power accumulators are mounted magnetic bearings and they rotate at speeds of 16,000 rpm and can provide 25 000wh of energy . The Spin would require less than 125wh per mile therefore , building a mobile system 15 times smaller will probably become feasible pretty soon. Then again, the Porsche 918 RSR already uses a flywheel accumulator an so does the Porsche 911 GT3 Hybrid.

I thought about installing two small flywheels  under the hood and flexible solar panels on the body of the Spin. Day & night, the vehicle could build up the speed of its flywheels by using a charging station like the ones offered by ADDÉnergie or the current from its solar panels. The vehicle could also accumulate energy in its Ion Lithium battery packs. When it would be time to drive, the Spin would use the most appropriate energy source based on its needs. The vehicle could alternate between its flywheels or its ion lithium batteries.

The Spin’s frame would be made of 2D stamped aluminum. Its body parts could be made of carbon fiber or simply plastic to reduce cost. The vehicle would be considered as a motorcycle like the Campagna T-Rex because it would use three wheels , so there would be fewer requirements to meet on road certification.

The designer

The Spin’s images were created by Eric Groner who studied Industrial Design at the University of Oregon.