Your next BMW electric vehicle may draw power from an unexpected source. CarBuzz recently discovered a German patent filing from the automaker that would enable EVs to convert energy from a car’s vertical wheel movement into electricity. So, hitting speed bumps or potholes could charge the battery.
Normally, the energy generated by rolling over road hazards and traffic management devices is absorbed by your car’s suspension and dissipated in the dampers. However, this new invention by BMW would theoretically redirect that sudden energy spike of kinetic energy into the car’s battery through a specially designed flywheel.
BMW isn’t the first company to try to harness pothole energy. After-market firm Gig Performance also has an innovative suspension accessory that could capture what they call “lost energy” that’s currently absorbed by suspensions. However, its design is for an adapter you’d install yourself, whereas the BMW invention would be built directly into your car at the factory.
CarBuzz reports that the BMW design appears to be for one of their flagship EVs and expects to see it in future iterations of a high-end model like the BMW i7. Additionally, since this is a brand-new technology, it won’t come cheap. However, like all major innovations, it will likely eventually trickle down into lower-priced models and become standard fare within a few years.