Someone should have thought of this a long time ago

Cars: MIT Shock Absorbers Harness Speed Bump Energy For Better Fuel Economy

Their prototype shock absorbers use a hydraulic system that forces fluid through a turbine attached to a generator. The system is controlled by an active electronic system that optimizes the damping, providing a smoother ride than conventional shocks while generating electricity to recharge the batteries or operate electrical equipment.

Of course, a long time ago a 10% improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency didn’t matter to anyone.

I’m sorta fascinated by this because of the various perverse incentives it creates. Now local authorities will be able to argue that not fixing potholes actually helps drivers. (Which is baloney because the only reason you have energy from the shocks is that you’re converting forward movement to up-and-down by impact, which is not very efficient, so you’re losing mileage on a rough road.) If this catches on, we’ll want some kind of undulations in every road just to keep electrical systems going; otherwise a car on mile after mile of dead flat interstate will eventually find its battery just fading away…


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