Power Harvesting Shock Absorbers Can Boost Hybrid Car Mileage by 10%

By harvesting the energy wasted by ordinary shock absorbers, a prototype device aims to take over much of the work now performed by alternators. In hybrid vehicles, the GenShock also could boost mileage by 10 percent. The GenShock design has been patented by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students who formed a startup, Levant Power Corp., that is targeting heavy vehicles like Humvees and AM General’s proposed Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

They have calculated that a company such as Wal-Mart could save $13 million a year in fuel costs by converting its fleet of trucks. Walmart has set a goal of doubling fuel efficiency for its trucks for 2015 compared to 2005. This site has an article that describes the details of that effort.

“This is a disruptive technology,” Anderson says. “It’s a game-changer.”

“Simply put — we want this technology on every heavy-truck, military vehicle and consumer hybrid on the road,” Avadhany says.

The team has received help from MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service, and has been advised by Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Ceramics in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and founder of A123 Systems, a supplier of high-power lithium-ion batteries.

Levant Power website, which has just a page indicating they are in stealth mode as of Feb 10, 2009