West Midlands consulting engineer Parry Associates is seeking development funds for a hybrid, flywheel-powered bus or taxi as an energy-efficient and low pollution form of urban transport.
The idea is a development of the flywheel-powered trams the company has championed as a flexible, cheap alternative to light rail for city centre transport.
The firm initially envisages an 8-to-10 seat vehicle with a diesel engine and an underfloor flywheel, integrated into a single drivetrain. The flywheel would be set spinning to act as an energy store. Its momentum would be used to drive the vehicle in zero-emission mode in covered bus stations, underground taxi ranks and in heavy or stationary traffic where fumes are particularly undesirable.
Chairman John Parry said such a vehicle would have better performance than an internal combustion engine/… battery powered hybrid. A relatively small flywheel, weighing 100-200kg, could give better torque and acceleration than a battery pack weighing around half a tonne. It would also provide regenerative braking.
About £100,000 will be needed to take the idea beyond prototype stage.