Monday, October 21, 2013

Volvo uses nanotechnology for cars

Volvo says it has made conventional batteries a “thing of the past” with a new lightweight battery system.
The Chinese-owned Swedish brand has developed new nanotechnology-derived batteries housed within thin carbon fibre storage packets. Designed to slot within the panels of the car the battery packs use nanoparticles, which include microscopic components with molecular manipulation to improve its properties.
Volvo says the move could lower the weight of future electric cars and free up interior space.
It uses carbon fibre to “sandwich” ultra-small nano-structured batteries and supercapacitors, which capture kinetic energy and can also be refilled using a conventional plug. These in turn feed electricity to the car’s motor.
The thin, light inner panels can then be fitted in different areas around the car, including under the bonnet, in the doors, in the boot lid and spare wheel housing and the roof turret. This means the batteries won’t eat into the car’s usable space; vehicles such as the Toyota Camry Hybrid feature a large battery bank behind the back seats which impinges on its practicality.
Volvo says that if an electric car were to replace its existing battery components with the new system it could cut its kerb weight by 15 per cent - meaning a car like the Nissan Leaf, which weighs 1795 kilograms, would be about 270 kilograms lighter, thus increasing its efficiency.
Volvo says it has developed an S80 experimental car that is using the technology in the boot lining in place of the regular 12-volt battery.
The ultimate goal is to also fit the battery packs in the doors and bonnet.
The project was funded by the European Union, and Volvo was the only car maker to be involved.