Volvo to Use Body Panels as Battery Cells

By | October 17, 2013
Up until now, the majority of automakers have placed the batteries for electric vehicles in the trunk, taking away cargo room. Volvo has decided to think outside of the box for the placement of battery cells and has developed a lightweight structural energy storage component. After nearly four years of research into reducing the weight, size, and cost of hybrid and electric vehicle batteries, Volvo has realized the solution in the form of car panels of a Volvo S80 experimental car. Volvo has designed these storage components out of carbon fiber, super capacitors, and nano-structured batteries to create a battery cell that is lighter, smaller, cost-effective, and is eco-friendly. The carbon fiber surrounds the new batteries, which have been molded to fit in the vehicle's frame, including the door panels, trunk, and hood. As of right now, Volvo has created two components that are ready for testing and development, including a trunk lid and an engine cover. Both are featured on the Volvo S80 experimental car. The trunk lid battery pack will potentially replace current electric and hybrid batteries, while the new plenum may replace the rally bar and a start-stop battery. With the implementation of these new elements, overall weight would be cut by over 15 percent, which would cut costs and help positively impact the environment.
Novel and promising, we think these implementations could lead to more usable space in hybrids and EVs for cargo and people. But we also wonder how they'll work in the real world when a few weeks ago a small hole in a Tesla battery pack caused a fire seen 'round the world. Source: Newspress UK (Subscription Required)