An EU-funded research project which includes Volvo and other nine non-automaker participants has been revealed today and promises to bring rechargeable body panels.

An EU-funded research project which includes Volvo and other nine non-automaker participants has been revealed today and promises to bring rechargeable body panels.

By combining carbon fibers with a polymer resin, the researchers were able to develop a new type of nanomaterial and structural super capacitors. These reinforced carbon fibers are sandwiching the new battery and then are molded and formed to fit the vehicle's frame which means they save a considerable amount of space compared to today's battery packs found in EVs and hybrids.

This groundbreaking material has the capability of storing and charging energy and can replace current body parts like boot lid, door panels and wheel bowl. It can be recharged by either plugging into a mains electrical grid or via brake energy recuperation. Researchers say this material can store and charge energy faster than usual batteries, while at the same time being pliant and strong.

It can also serve as a replacement for the start/stop battery and the rally bar (strong structural piece which stabilizes the car's front). Theoretically speaking, if the new material would replace all the components of an electric car, the overall weight would be reduced by more than 15 percent.

The project is a result of three and a half years of research and now the results have materialized in the form of car body panels installed on an experimental Volvo S80. Although it sounds impressive, one has to wonder that fixing a simple dent on such a car would cost a lot more, not to mention replacing an entire body panel.

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Volvo introduces nano battery project with rechargeable body panels