Fri Oct 18 2013 16:02:01 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Volvo finds a way to turn body panels into batteries [w/video]
One of the problems with designing an electric vehicle is figuring out where to fit the battery pack. Volvo – as a part of a European Union research project – is working on a way around this issue by replacing standard parts with lightweight components that double as batteries on both conventional and plug-in vehicles. The image above shows one such piece on a Volvo S80. While looking like nothing more than a carbon fiber plenum cover, the piece is actually a battery pack that can store and supply enough energy for the car's entire 12-volt power system.
The parts are made by sandwiching super capacitors (which can charge faster than standard batteries) in between layers of carbon fiber. They can then be formed to replace numerous body panels such as the decklid, roof or door panels. Volvo says that the replacing the body panels and batteries with these nano batteries can help reduce the vehicle's weight by as much as 15 percent. It has taken more than three years just to design the batteries, so there's no telling when, or if, we'll ever see this technology used on a production vehicle. Scroll down for a video and press release on Volvo's innovative battery technology.