Torotrak has now signed the development agreement for a high-power flywheel KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) in a large off-road vehicle as initially announced in the Group’s trading update in April.
The agreement has been entered into with one of the largest global manufacturers of off-highway construction and mining equipment within the UK Energy Technologies Institute’s Heavy Duty Vehicles Efficiency program. This fully funded program will work to design, develop and demonstrate a high-power KERS for integration in the main drivetrain of both a large mining truck and an on-highway articulated truck.
Work is already underway on this project, which will demonstrate the scalability of the Group’s KERS technology. All the project partners believe there are significant potential opportunities for the Group’s low-cost KERS technology in a range of on and off-highway vehicles.
In the April update, Torotrak noted that KERS-equipped buses have so far delivered fuel savings of 11.1% on the MLTB cycle when compared to the baseline latest Euro6 bus—and that simulations show that this could be potentially increased up to 14%.
However, the company added, the results of the UK Government’s Ultra Low Emission Bus (LEB) grant applications have been delayed and no announcement has been made by the Government to confirm the new date for the awards. This uncertainty, coupled with persistent low fuel prices, is causing bus operators to postpone investment in all low emission technologies.
As a result, Wrightbus and Torotrak have agreed to delay further investment in the production launch of bus KERS until the situation becomes clearer.
Correspondingly, Torotrak’s engineering and cash resources will be redeployed onto the other more promising, revenue generating and near-term commercial opportunities.