Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Volvo Charges up with Auto Body Battery 

<img style="float: left;" src="http://media2.hpcwire.com/dmr/volvos80.jpg" alt="" width="95" height="53" border="0" />You wouldn’t expect the battery of the future to come from thinking inside the box, so perhaps it’s not a surprise that for Volvo’s next generation electric car, the energy comes from the exterior of the car—specifically, from the skin of its body.

You wouldn’t expect the battery of the future to come from thinking inside the box, so perhaps it’s not a surprise that for Volvo’s next generation electric car, the energy comes from the exterior of the car—specifically, from the skin of its body.

But the automaker has recently announced that it’s developed a new material that is able to work both as a body panel as well as a battery.

To accomplish this, Volvo has taken a hard look at materials engineering at an atomic level along with nine participants who took part in the European Union-funded research project. Along with Volvo Car Group, other members included the Imperial College London, Swerea Sicomp AB, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung BAM, ETC Battery and FuelCells, Inasco, Chalmers, Cytec Industries, and Nanocyl.

The result is a carbon-fiber weave that combines nano-scale batteries and capacitors within the fiber itself. To create a battery body panel, the carbon fiber laminate is layered, shaped and cured in an oven and allowed to harden, with super capacitors integrated into the component skin.

If you were to take a closer look, you’d see a fiberglass layer on top. This insulates the outer and inner layers of carbon fiber, which each are responsible for the positive and negative flow of electrons, respectively. Because of this, the entire panel can store energy that drives the wheels, cutting down on one of the greatest limitations to electric vehicle (EV) technology thus far: weight.

During each drive, the material is recharged and energized whenever the car’s brakes are engaged by using the heat the brake pads give off, just like an ordinary EV. Similarly, the new battery design can also be charged by plugging the vehicle in.

And not only does a smaller, lighter battery bay lead to better range and performance, it also means that more cabin space is freed up for leg room and storage.

But Volvo also claims that the material is able to charge more quickly than conventional batteries while retaining some strength and pliability, giving drivers of petrol cars one more reason to keep EVs in consideration when shopping for a fuel efficient vehicle.

After three and a half years of developing and testing the material, Volvo engineers have taken the S80 and replaced its trunk, doors and hood with the new body battery. In addition, the parts of the bodywork separating the engine from the passengers has also been made of the material to create a cohesive design.

By replacing a structural support in the front of the car along with the start-stop battery, Volvo says that the weight of these components is cut in half. Overall, the company claims that the overall weight savings exceed 15 percent, while maintaining an 80-mile range.

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