Volvo Envisions Body Panels as Energy Storage in S80 Experimental Prototype

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 8

S80 Test Bed

S80 Test Vehicle

Volvo has co-developed an outside-the-box method for energy storage in a plug-in vehicle.

Volvo's Vision

Volvo’s Vision

Volvo, with backing from the European Union, has developed a material made from carbon fiber, polymer resins and nanostructured batteries and supercapacitors.

This material is moldable and could eventually allow a vehicle’s body panels and even its structural components to be energy storage devices.

Far fetched?  Absolutely, but could it work?  We don’t see why not.

As Volvo claims, the S80 protoype’s trunk lid, if made from this material, would allow the removal of the 12-volt lead acid battery found in today’s vehicles.

That means that the trunk lid alone could provide enough energy storage capacity to replace the 12-volt battery.

Volvo further says that a significant weight reduction (~15%) could be realized by using this material.

According to Volvo, the energy storage panels/components can be recharged through regenerative braking or by plugging in.

As of right now, this potential breakthrough material is in the early experimental stage, with Volvo just recently fitting an S80 with some of the material.

Further testing is of course necessary.

As for price for this material, we’re guessing it fits in that “don’t ask and we won’t tell” area.

Volvo's Advanced Material

Volvo’s Advanced Material

Material Used For Energy Storage

Material Used For Energy Storage

Fitting the Fancy Trunk Lid

Fitting the Fancy Trunk Lid

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8 responses to "Volvo Envisions Body Panels as Energy Storage in S80 Experimental Prototype"

  1. Taser54 says:

    I wonder what it would take to short that panel out. Keys in one hand, ring on the other hand?

  2. kdawg says:

    Cool. I like out of the box thinking. The naysayers will have a bunch of “what-ifs”, (like a crash), but if the proof of concept works, I hope they continue w/the engineering.

  3. scott moore says:

    They’re using the body as a capacitor. You could do the same thing by getting fairly resistive tires and using the entire car as a capacitor with the planet serving as the other plate.

    It isn’t “out of the box” thinking, its more like “out of this world” thinking 🙂

  4. drpawansharma says:

    Bad idea. Bad bad idea!

    1. Ben says:

      Why please elaborate?

  5. Bill Howland says:

    @Scott Moore

    Your idea has merit… Unfortunately the car body would have to be bigger than Connecticut to get the KWHs of storage required.

    Back to Volvo’s idea, I wish they would mention how long the caps take to selfdischarge.

  6. Bret says:

    I love the claims of nano-structured battery technology and then you see the actual picture, where they have sandwiched in some pouch cells. A really important piece of information is how many KWh can be stored in the carbon fiber panels? Another huge question is how will they handle thermal management?

  7. Priusmaniac says:

    If it evolves well, on the long run, we could have body panels that combine structural function, battery function and solar panel function.