Zooz Power will use its flywheel technology to charge electric rental cars at New York City’s LaGuardia airport, the Israel-based company formerly known as Chakratec announced earlier this month.
Zooz recently announced a memorandum of understanding with an unnamed car rental company to pilot flywheel energy charging at LaGuardia beginning in the second quarter of 2023.
The partner rental company “is operating thousands of car rental sites in over 100 countries,” Zooz said in a press release, adding that more sites will be considered if the 12-month New York pilot program is successful.
The technology is a form of kinetic energy storage, which relies on spinning massive flywheels to store energy in place of batteries. Flywheels rotate in canisters, where the flywheels are suspended in a vacuum. An electric motor “spins up” each flywheel to an ideal speed, then doubles as a generator as the flywheel “spins down,” using that energy to charge EVs.
The tech helps reduce the peak load on the grid, while allowing higher charge power. As the company has said before, flywheels can be located in some places where batteries wouldn’t be advisable, like inside or underground. That’s particularly relevant for car rental sites, where grid constraints could limit implementation of conventional charging infrastructure, Zooz claims.
Flywheel-based hybrid tech originated in racing—and carried over to a few prototypes—but it’s shown much more promise in stationary installations.
Battery-boosted charging is an increasingly popular option for locations where high-power grid upgrades aren’t feasible, allowing fast charging from existing low-voltage electricity service. Charging networks have discovered that it allows more flexibility for fast-charging locations.
Zooz doesn’t say which rental company is involved, but Hertz has announced an intent to have tens of thousands of EVs in its fleet from Tesla, GM, Polestar, and perhaps others. BP has already been announced as a partner to help keep rental EVs charged.
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