Volvo New Power Concept Replaces Conventional Batteries
Volvo has developed a new concept for storing electrical power using car body panels instead of a traditional battery. It may be a few years away from production, but it’s a very smart concept.
Volvo is working together with independent research groups to develop a means of energy storage for future electric cars that does away completely with traditional battery and super capacitor systems, which typically carry considerable weight and take up a lot of space. The solution is a new type of material that integrates nano-structured batteries and super capacitors together with carbon fibre, which can be formed into body panels for a car.
The material is recharged and energised by the use of brake energy regeneration in the car or by plugging into a mains electrical grid. It then transfers the energy to the electric motor which is discharged as it is used around the car. Impressively, researchers found that the special panels not only charge and store energy faster than conventional batteries can, but that they are also lighter, stronger and more pliant. Their production is also said to be cost effective eco-friendly. Volvo reckons the complete substitution of an electric car’s existing components with the new material could cut the overall weight by more than 15%.
The project, funded as part of a European Union research project, included Imperial College London as the academic lead partner along with eight other major participants. Volvo was the only OEM in the project. The project team identified a feasible solution to the heavy weight, large size and high costs associated with the batteries seen in hybrids and electric cars today, while maintaining the efficient capacity of power and performance.
The research project took place over 3.5 years and has already been realised in the form of body panels within an S80 experimental car.
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