Volvo's KERS system

You can sign us up for this one. Volvo is testing a prototype S60 sedan equipped with a Formula One-type Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) at its Sweden headquarters and recently took some folks from Green Car Reports for a test drive.

While noting that the KERS' rear-axle mounted flywheel that stores braking energy and transfers it to the drivetrain could be loud, Green Car Reports unmistakably enjoyed the experience of the extra kick the system provided to the car's 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. In short, the S60's KERS system adds 80 horsepower to the car's 254 and, as a result, cut about a second and a half off of the car's usual 0-100 km (62 miles per hour) acceleration time of about seven seconds.

Three years ago, Volvo was awarded a $1 million Swedish government grant to develop such a system and, early on, said KERS could cut fuel use by as much as 20 percent. Volvo said last month that it had a prototype in the works.