What a shock: Potholes will cut your fuel consumption
Maybe if it were April we might be looking for a 'fool' in the following. But it's not, so we're taking it (half) seriously.
Driving over potholes could, in the future, cut fuel consumption thanks to a revolutionary new shock absorber.
Known as GenShocks, the contraptions will mean that motorists will no longer just worry about their suspension, but regard every jolt as potentially cutting the cost of a visit to the filling station.
This is because the devices not only absorb the impact from driving over rough surfaces, but convert it into electricity as well.
The power generated from the bumpy ride is then used for the myriad of devices which rely on electricity from the car's alternator -- such as headlights, windscreen wipers and the sound system. This, in turn, means that less fuel is needed to power the electrics.
"At the moment, shock absorbers are a simple device, which allow a driver to maintain control when a car is driven over a pothole," Shakeel Avadhany, chief executive of Levant Power Corporation, said.
"But they only generate heat, the GenShocks will also generate electricity," he added. "We believe that they would cover their cost within 18 to 20 months."
The company, based outside Boston, Massachusetts, hopes to start selling the product in the US by the end of next year and in Europe some time during 2012.
Although no price has been fixed yet, GenShocks are likely to cost slightly more than conventional shock absorbers.
Such is the interest in the US, that the National Science Foundation, a government agency, has given the company a $150,000 (€115,000) grant to develop the technology.