Would attaching a heavy duty shake flashlight device to the car shock damper work well for producing energy like an alternator?

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closed as off-topic by CaM, Rekesoft, RonJohn, JohnWDailey, Vincent Mar 21 '18 at 4:25

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    $\begingroup$ I can see it now; municipal councils saying 'no, if we fix the potholes in that road, how on earth are everyone's cars going to charge those batteries?' That said, it might be a valid excuse to a police officer when you're caught driving all over those reflectors in the middle of the road because you're tired and/or emotional. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Mar 16 '18 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ Not really a worldbuilding question, but there are such things as shock absorbers that generate electricity. E.g. technologyreview.com/s/418859/… $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 16 '18 at 3:53
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think you put much work into researching your idea. To produce energy like an alternator you would need constant movement of the shock. Preferably in the same distance. Which is hard to maintain. What is constant in the car? Engine vibrations. You could use similar generator like in wrist watches. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Mar 16 '18 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ @SZCZERZOKŁY, I'd go further and use the pistons motion directly... $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Mar 16 '18 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch and maybe attach some sort of generator to the crankshaft? :) We could call it... the alternator! $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Mar 16 '18 at 12:23

It will work but although shock absorbers move with a lot of force they don't move very far and it's the relative motion of the magnets past the copper coils that induces an electric field, so it's a lot of effort/complexity for relatively little gain.

You could capture the energy of the shock itself using a hydraulic system by using the hydraulics to drive a turbine-alternator, but trying to do two things at once like that tends to be problematic.


It would probably not work all that well. Modern alternators output 50-70A at 14.4V, for about 720W of power. That's a lot of juice. Those shake-flashlights are designed to capture perhaps 1W of power. You'd have to make them quite large and beefy.

Also, you would have a funny issue that arises when the city finally repaves your roads. Suddenly the roads are quite smooth, and generating that power becomes even harder.

For off road purposes however... Dukes of Hazard

  • $\begingroup$ I love the question and this answer! $\endgroup$ – Renan Mar 16 '18 at 2:32
  • $\begingroup$ Plus one for the Duikes reference. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Neely Mar 19 '18 at 14:03

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