Volvo: Energy Storage in EV Body Panels

October 24, 2013


Volvo develops its technologies rather discreetly, but it has now gotten to a stage where it has decided it is time to reveal this innovative technology, which it co-developed with nine other parties (not vehicle manufacturers). The new concept, which was developed over a period of three years, involves the use of lightweight composite materials to build certain vehicle parts that can double as energy storage for a Volvo S80 sedan.

For example, Volvo used these materials to create an intake plenum cover (intake manifold cover) and a boot lid (trunk lid) which store energy. It says that the trunk lid stores enough energy to facilitate removal of the car’s standard batteries.

As for the intake plenum cover, it says that it can supply power to the car’s 12 volt electrical system. The material can also be moulded and formed to replace various parts. The intake plenum cover mentioned above is one of them.

A 15% overall reduction in vehicle weight is expected from this project if applied to electric cars. That translates to a kerb weight reduction of 522 pounds (237 kg) for an entry-level Volvo S80. The test car is charged via regenerative braking, and it can be plugged in.

This European Union-funded project sounds awfully clever, and potentially sleek! Could this research inspire people to do other things such as make cellphone cases out of energy storage material? Who knows?

6 Responses to “Volvo: Energy Storage in EV Body Panels”

  1. Bruce Miller Says:

    On the fly charging also a recent reality. Now that the gateway to U.S. warring and plundering lesser countries for their oil has been closed at Syria by the Russian/Chinese/Iranian/ U.N. collusion, America will have to give in and give way to domestic energy fuelled vehicles. With the American foreign debt load highest in all history now, and only China left as a Creditor, and with a Chinese credit rating lowered now to AAA- . U.S. loans to finance the purchase of foreign oil are very costly. expect Electrics to score big in the near future as gasoline prices at the pumps in the U.S. rise. Expect electric “engines” with only three moving parts to far outlast the car bodies they come in. Expect transmission providers to go broke as electrics simply do not need them. Watch closely for innovations in electric storage such as this example from Volvo to be part pf the game change.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      interesting comments about the effects of US credit rating/default threat on oil prices.
      If US fuel prices rise, will that stimulate more “exotic” oil resource development like oil shale and tar sands?
      please keep us updated on this.

      • If the dollar collapses, the value of the money owed by both oil and gas drillers collapses with it.  With the price of their product still at world levels, it would be like a debt jubilee.  All they have to do is not go bankrupt first (so long as they have liquids to sell; pure gas plays may still be contractually tied to the US$).

  2. daveburton Says:

    What is this material?

    A trunk lid seems like a very odd place to put batteries. Batteries tend to be heavy — exactly what you don’t want to put in something like a trunk lid, that people have to lift. Batteries also tend to be expensive — which means you’d rather they not be destroyed in a minor rear-end collision.

    But if they’ve managed to make batteries that are much lighter weight than today’s batteries, even if they are somewhat bulky, that opens up many wonderful possibilities.

  3. Nick Carter Says:

    The added benefit of composite material in auto manufacturing is that the overall weight of the vehicle is lower. That, in turn, means less energy required to power the vehicle, which in turn, allows the vehicle to travel farther. That’s what we call….a positive feedback, and one we like. With regards to liquid fuels, I’m following a source who is working on methanol technology. Is this closer to renewable? What is the EROEI? Is it part of the above ground carbon cycle, or is it just another fossil fuel expression? I don’t know. We should hear in about a month.

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