Volvo: An EV's Body Panels Could Do Double-Duty as Battery


  • Volvo Advanced Energy Storage Technology Picture

    Volvo Advanced Energy Storage Technology Picture

    Volvo has co-developed a new way of storing energy in electric vehicles. | October 17, 2013

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Just the Facts:
  • Volvo and its partners have come up with a breakthrough way of storing energy in electric vehicles that could do away with the use of heavy batteries in the future.
  • Using special materials, a trunk lid alone could potentially supply enough energy to replace standard EV batteries, the automaker said.
  • Volvo said it is testing the advanced energy storage technology on a Volvo S80.

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Volvo and its partners have come up with a breakthrough way of storing energy in electric vehicles that could do away with the use of heavy batteries in the future.

Using special materials, a trunk lid alone could potentially supply enough energy to replace standard EV batteries, the automaker said.

The material consists of a combination of carbon fiber, polymer resin and "nano structured batteries and super capacitor." The material is molded and formed to make such parts as a trunk lid, wheelwell and door panels.

"The material can be used around the vehicle, replacing existing components, to store and charge energy," Volvo said. "The material is recharged and energized by the use of brake energy regeneration in the car or by plugging into a main electrical grid."

Volvo said it is testing the experimental technology on a Volvo S80. No word yet on when such technology will be available for mainstream use or how much it will add to the price of a car.

The complete substitution of an EV's existing components with the new material could cut overall weight by more than 15 percent, the company said.

The project, funded through the EU, includes nine other participants. Volvo said it is the only automaker to participate in the research.

Edmunds says: A fascinating look at how EVs may be powered in the future.

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