Tomorrow's Volvo car - Click above for high-res image
Where can you put an electric car's power source? Pretty much anywhere, as Volvo's new "Tomorrow's Volvo Car" sketch shows us. The idea here is to build a rechargeable battery into the car's body panels, and Volvo is saying that, "tests are currently under way to see if the vision can be transformed into reality."
Volvo Cars is working on these car panel batteries as part of a three-year, 3.5 million Euro (around $4.7 U.S. at today's exchange rate) materials development project started by the Imperial College in London earlier this year. Volvo, along with eight international partners (none of them car manufacturers), describes the material as a:
If an electric car were to be built with this material, Volvo says, the car would be 15 percent lighter than one made with steel body panels. Not only that, but by using the battery panel in the hood, doors and roof, the car would have a range of about 80 miles. Right now, this is all in the testing phase, and the prototype battery - not big enough to power the car on its own - is shaped to fit into the spare tire well. Of course, there are other applications - mobile electronics, natch - but we want to see a car made from this stuff, pronto.composite blend of carbon fibres and polymer resin is being developed that can 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.
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