Volvo Has Developed A Body That Can Store Energy, Thus Replacing Batteries
|   Friday, October 18, 2013
Volvo has contributed to research worldwide an innovative material that can store energy like a battery. The material can be molded and used to create body parts.

The Swedes have been studying an ingenious way to power electric motors without the classic lithium-ion batteries which increase the car's total mass, but requires a lengthy load time, and does not offer autonomy bigger than 200 kilometers.

The Volvo solution comes after much research, and shows that you can create a material capable of storing energy.
It is composed of carbon fiber and polymer resins and nanostructured supercapacitors. The composition could allow storage of energy. Until now, the composition was modeled as a hood and spare wheel housing. Volvo claims that the hood of this type can store enough energy to replace batteries. The mass would be lower and the available space should increase.

A component for the intake system was tried and created. It has managed to store enough energy to allow the waiver of the additional battery required for the start-stop system. Once you have drawn the line, researchers have found that by using this component the start-stop system loses 50 percent of its weight.

After three years of research and experimentation, the revolutionary material was used by Volvo on its peak range, S80. The prototype has shown that it is possible to use this component in production. The total weight decreased from 1585 kg to 1348 kg. Furthermore, the Swedish say that the material could reduce the total weight of the electric vehicle by 15 percent. It would be conventionally charged from any electrical outlet.

The project that gave rise to this material has been developed with the help of European funds, 3.5 million euros in total and nine companies, including Volvo which is the only one in the automotive industry. The Swedes participated because they want to reduce the weight of electric vehicles and because they see a future for zero-emission vehicles.

Dr. Emile Greenhalgh, project co-ordinator working in Imperial College London's Department of Aeronautics, said: "We are really excited about the potential of this new technology. We think the car of the future could be drawing power from its roof, its bonnet or even the door... Even the sat-nav could be powered by its own casing."

"In a structural composite, you need to use a rigid polymer resin to support the fibres, but for a composite that stores electrical energy, the polymers must be soft to allow ions to flow through the material. The way that we have achieved both is to nanostructure the resin material we use such that it can deliver both the electrical and mechanical properties that we require" continued Greenhalgh.

"With a conventional carbon-fibre composite, a laminate is first manufactured and is then trimmed to the required size. But the problem with the new material is that since it has two carbon-fibre layers that act as electrodes, using a conventional machining process would create a short circuit across them."
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