Volvo, like many other car manufacturers, has been playing around in the electric vehicle world for years now. Heavy batteries have played as an obstacle at times for electric vehicles because they are just so heavy and expensive. Now Volvo, along with nine other companies, has announced a plan that could aid in this problem and revolutionize the design of electric vehicles.
After three and a half years of research studies, Volvo wants to replace some of the steel body panels with carbon fiber, that can also store power like batteries do. This will trim body mass while it maximizing interior volume at the same time. These body panels could offer as much as a 15% weight reduction. Their findings also show that the body panels are capable of charging faster than conventional batteries.
“Using a standard Volvo S80 as a test platform, the company replaced the trunk lid, door panels, and hood with this new material. The rechargeable panels are composed of multiple layers of carbon fiber, which are insulated from each other by fiberglass inserts. The layers of polymer-infused carbon fiber are actually acting as the cathode and anode in this system with super capacitors built into the skin. The result is a structural component that can be charged like the battery in any other EV, either with regenerative braking or by plugging the vehicle into the power grid.”
No word yet on whether or not this study’s results will make it to production yet but it’s safe to say Volvo will be the ones to make it happen!