You’ve heard of regenerative brakes; how about regenerative suspension? ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Massachusetts-based Levant Power Corp have collaborated to come up with GenShock, an active suspension system that recaptures energy for the vehicle’s power supply.
The basis of the active regeneration is a compact and functional unit, containing a new type of valve technology, that’s fitted to the outside of the damper. This device is made up of its own control unit, an electric motor and an electrohydraulic gear pump. The electric motor drives the gear pump, which controls the flow of oil in the damper to adjust its rate.
To regenerate energy, the opposite happens. When the driving situation permits, the valve system guides the oil in the damper in such a way as to drive the electric pump motor, which then serves as a generator. Kinetic energy from the damper piston’s swaying motion is now converted into electricity. This electricity is then fed back into the vehicle’s battery.
Needless to say, the technology works best on poor-quality roads. The more the damper piston sways as a result of uneven terrain, the more fluid it pushes into the gear pump and the more electricity is generated. Vehicles in the Klang Valley equipped with GenShock in the future will probably have batteries overflowing with juice, then.
Moreover, the suspension is capable of raising each of the vehicle’s wheels individually – yes, that means jack-free tyre changing. When will we be able to buy a car with GenShock? At present, ZF and Levant can’t say for certain – but we think an idea as clever as this should be bursting to make its debut.