Electric cars have been around for over a century. As each year goes by, researchers keep on making electric car more efficient. For three and a half years, Volvo has been working on creating body panels that can store power. With the help from London Imperial College, there are several perks that can come from these body panels.
These body panels are made of advanced carbon fibers. Due to advances in technology, these fibers could be shaped into the desired car panels. The power panels can be fit into parts such as the hood, roof and doors. Volvo claims that they are eco-friendly to produce. These body panels weigh about 15% less than a conventional battery pack in a mid-size car. With the body panels alone can power a mid-size car 80 miles on a single charge. The panels also take less time to charge then a conventional car battery. These battery panels can be charged by plugging the car in or regenerative breaking. They are not ideal for long travel. Volvo is planning on using these panels along with a conventional electric car battery.
Not only could these panels be used for electric cars, gasoline cars can use these panels to power the many gadgets within the vehicle. This can be very beneficial since many vehicles are becoming dependent on many features such as GPS and Smart technologies. There are a few drawbacks to this new technology. If these power panels are damaged, they will fail and will need to be replaced. There is also not a known way to recycle the damaged panels. Even if you would have to replace the panels, it would be cheaper than having to replace the power cells that are used in traditional electric cars. The powered body panels are expected to be used in the next Volvo S80.