Previous research has shown that a semiactive automotive suspension system can provide significant benefits compared to a passive suspension but cannot quite match the performance of a fully active system. The advantage of the semiactive system over an active system is that it consumes almost zero energy by utilizing a variable damper whose damping coefficient is changed in real time, while a fully active suspension consumes significant power for its operation. This paper explores a new zero-energy active suspension system that combines the advantages of semiactive and active suspensions by providing the performance of the active system at zero energy cost. Unlike a semiactive system in which the energy is always dissipated, the proposed system harvests and recycles energy to achieve active operation. An electrical motor-generator is used as the zero-energy actuator and a controller and energy management system are developed. An energy adaptive sky-hook gain is proposed to prevent the system from running out of energy, thereby eliminating the need to switch between passive and active systems. The results show that the system performs at least as well as a passive system for all frequencies, and is equivalent to an active system for a broad range of frequencies including both resonant frequencies.

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