Volvo have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, particularly in terms of safety. New technologies such a pedestrian airbags and advanced crash structures are saving more lives everyday thanks to a collection of boffins who can see what the future of motoring requires. Efficiency is something that we are told on a daily basis that needs to improve in cars in order to curb our appetite for fossil fuels. Electric cars would appear to be a good solution, however, in the real world it is their heavy batteries that not only kills their handling, but also their range. Volvo is part of an EU funded project that may have found an answer.
The answer to the weight issue of electric cars (more weight = more energy required to travel X distance) that Volvo has helped develop is remarkably elegant. A composite made from nano-structured batteries and supercapacitors supported by carbonfibre allows engineers to create body panels that act as a battery. This reduces the overall weight of the car and allows for better distribution of said weight. These new batteries would also be faster to charge.
Sounds like science fiction? Guess again because Volvo have a working prototype in the form of an S80. The car weighs 15% less than the standard model and has these body panel batteries making up its roof, bonnet and doors. With the aid of regenerative braking the range for this machine is 130KM.
So, in conclusion… It looks like a normal car, it drivers like a normal car, it doesn’t have to make space for big heavy batteries and it saves the planet. Could this be the future?