The USAF Academy Flywheel-Electric Car Preliminary Design Report.
Report for 1 Oct 77-31 May 79,
FRANK J SEILER RESEARCH LAB UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY CO
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Although problems caused by pollution and declining petroleum reserves have caused renewed interest in electric vehicles, currently-available lead-acid batteries impose performance limitations which are unacceptable to most drivers. These limitations, specifically low range and acceleration, are greatly improved by the addition of a flywheel and continuously-variable transmission to the power train of the of the electric vehicle. This paper describes a low-technology flywheel-electric car built by U.S. Air Force Academy cadets and faculty members in the Department of Physics under funding provided by Frank J. Seiler Research Laboratory. The car design discussed appears to offer the possibility for a four-passenger urban vehicle with a range of 70-100 miles and acceleration performance comparable to that of current sub-compact cars. This performance is achieved with a simple driving system which is comparable to that in current automatic transmission cars. The paper also details the benefits and problems resulting from the low-technology design chosen and provides trade-off analyses on some of the specific problems inherent in the use of a flywheel in the power train of a vehicle. Finally, the paper suggests future improvements which could lower the weight of the vehicle, make the transmission shifting more precise, and improve the performance of the car on grades. Author
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