Volvo is working on an innovative new car battery that can be installed in the vehicle’s bodywork itself and is charged via the car’s own body panels. Dubbed The Tomorrow Car, the new model is part of a three-year, 3.5 million Euro project started by the Imperial College in London to implement batteries into vehicles’ chassis. The project, which also features contributions from eight international partners, aims to create car body panels from a “composite blend of carbon fibres and polymer resin” which “is being developed to store and charge more energy faster than conventional batteries can. At the same time, the material is extremely strong and pliant, which means it can be shaped for use in building the car’s body panels.”

If a car was to be constructed from these materials, it would be 15 percent lighter than a traditional car with a battery installed.  What’s even better is that Volvo believe that a battery charged via the doors, hoods and other body panels would give the car a range of nearly 80 miles.

In a press statement, Per-Ivar Sellergren, development engineer at the Volvo Cars Materials Centre, said “Our role is to contribute expertise on how this technology can be integrated in the future and to input ideas about the advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost and user-friendliness. This is a relatively large structure that is easy to replace. Not sufficiently large to power the entire car, but enough to switch the engine off and on when the car is at a standstill, for instance at traffic lights.”

It is also rumoured that the car’s spare wheel recess will be converted into a composite battery. Either way, it’s an incredible breakthrough and could change how cars are powered in the future. Of course, it does mean that convertibles won’t be able to get as far as cars with roofs.

+ Volvo Cars

Via Auto Blog Green