By Evan Ackerman
All you speed demons out there will be happy to hear that MIT has developed energy harvesting shock absorbers that can boost your fuel efficiency by up to 10%. The new shocks, called GenShocks, can generate power from even small bumps, and smooth the ride more effectively than conventional versions. They work by using an active hydraulic system that forces fluid through electricity generating turbines as the vehicle bounces up and down.
The heavier the vehicle, the better the system works, meaning that hummer owners finally have something to feel a little smug about… A six shock heavy truck, for example, would generate about 1kw of electricity, which is enough to power all the electronics, even if you have one of those super annoying stereo systems with eighty-five subwoofers. The guys at MIT estimate that if a company the size of Wal-Mart outfits its fleet with the new shocks, they’d save about $13 million a year in fuel costs.
Unsurprisingly, the first customer for this technology is most likely to be the military, but it’s certainly capable of trickling down through the commercial market into consumer vehicles, where a 10% increase in fuel efficiency is nothing to scoff at. No word on pricing, but a production version should be ready this summer.