Volvo has developed a new concept for storing electrical power in a car using car body panels instead of a battery.
As our cars become more and more reliant on power from batteries – either to run the multitude of technology or to provide power for electric motors – the cost and size of the batteries needed continues to grow.
But Volvo have been working an an alternative for the last 3.5 years which can potentially do away with the battery and instead store power in body panels.
Volvo has built an experimental S80 which has body panels made of carbon fibre and polymer resins and structural super capacitors. The carbon fibres sandwich the ‘battery’ bit and get moulded to form things like door panels to store the power.
Power can be put in to the battery layer from regenerative braking or by plugging the car in to the mains, and so far Volvo has created two components – a boot lid and plenum cover – on an S80 using this technology.
The boot lid – which has the potential to replace a normal battery – actually weighs less than a conventional boot lid, and the plenum can replace the rally bar due to its rigidity, and store enough power to replace the start-stop battery.
Volvo reckons that using this system could cut overall weight by 15 per cent, improve economy and be more sustainable.
It may be a few years away from production, but it’s a very smart way to go.