Conventional batteries that power today’s electric cars and hybrids take up space and add a lot of extra weight to the vehicles. Volvo just announced that it has developed a concept for lightweight structural energy storage components that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles. The material (which consists of carbon fibers, nano-structured batteries and super capacitors) allows the battery components to be integrated into a car’s body panels, thereby taking up less space than conventional batteries.

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The technology features a combination of carbon fibers and a polymer resin, creating a very advanced nanomaterial, and structural super capacitors. The reinforced carbon fibers sandwich the new battery and are molded and formed to fit around the car’s frame, such as the door panels and trunk lid. The super capacitors are integrated within the component skin. This material can then be used around the vehicle, replacing existing components, to store and charge energy.

Just like conventional batteries, the new material is recharged and energized by the use of brake energy regeneration in the car or by plugging into a main electrical grid. The new technology is around 15 percent lighter than conventional batteries and also charges and stores energy faster.

+ Volvo