Audi’s regenerative suspension will put the ‘shock’ in shock absorber

2015 Audi A3 sportback e tron front motion

From the Toyota Prius to the Audi R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans racer, regenerative braking has become a common piece of automotive technology.

But why stop with braking (no pun intended)?

Audi is working on a system that uses heat energy recovered from a car’s suspension to provide electric power, Ulrich Hackenberg, the carmaker’s R&D chief, told Auto Express at a recent press event.

Hackenberg explained that the up-and-down motion of shock absorbers creates a considerable amount of heat. This energy normally dissipates into the atmosphere, but Audi hopes to recapture it with a generator attached to the shock.

This energy would be stored in batteries to help extend the electric range of a hybrid, or even be put to work in a conventional car.

It could, for example, be used to power electrical accessories in a similar manner to the i-ELOOP regenerative braking system developed by Mazda. It might also be useful in a “mild hybrid” – a powertrain that uses some electric power, but not enough to propel the car without an internal combustion engine.

Performance enthusiasts have a reason to be excited, too.

The regenerative suspension could actually work both ways, sending power back into the shocks to firm them up, creating a sportier ride. So not only could this system improve efficiency, it could also open the door to a whole new type of adjustable suspension.

The technology is still under development, but with Audi poised to launch an entire fleet of plug-in hybrids and possibly the R8 e-tron electric car (finally), don’t be surprised to see it on some model in the near future.

With electrified powertrains, an electric turbocharger, and now this juice-generating suspension, Audi really is singing the body electric.

Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Cars

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Cars

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!