One of the issues faced by electric cars could be solved in a cunning way, if research performed at Chalmers University of Technology proves to be viable.
The Swedish University has proved that carbon fibres can be used to store energy directly, which could be of major benefit to electric vehicles.
It means that manufacturers can theoretically turn the entire body of a car into its battery.
One of the issues of electric vehicles is, when it comes to range, battery size and weight is limited. You can only fit a maximum size of power source inside.
Making the entire outside chassis the power source will greatly expand the energy storage and, therefore, the travel distance available between charges. It could even be deployed on light, electric-powered aircraft.
“A car body would be not simply a load-bearing element, but also act as a battery,” said Leif Asp, a professor at Chalmers. “It will also be possible to use the carbon fibre for other purposes such as harvesting kinetic energy, for sensors or for conductors of both energy and data.
“If all these functions were part of a car or aircraft body, this could reduce the weight by up to 50 per cent.”
Clearly more research is needed, especially considering tests revealed the best carbon fibre for electric storage was just higher in strength than steel, while carbon fibre with poor electric properties is much stronger, but we suspect we’ve not heard the last of this technology.