The concept of a structural battery in electric cars or other devices isn't new. Last year, Volvo presented something like this. Replacing the structural parts with battery could reduce weight, but as is always the case when trying to introduce a new product, researchers and engineers need to solve many new problems.
Now we see that KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden is developing a carbon fiber material, which besides managing mechanical loads will act as an electrode (instead of graphite) for lithium-ion batteries. According to the KTH article there is a promising solution.
Eric Jacques, a researcher in Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering at KTH stated:
“The objective of our research was to develop a structural battery consisting of multifunctional lightweight materials that simultaneously manage mechanical loads, and store electrical energy,”.
“This can result in a weight reduction for electric vehicles.”
How about ultimate battery pack for electric cars?
Jacques stated that carbon fiber could be a viable alternative to graphite. It's light and has excellent mechanical properties.
“The research project has demonstrated very good results, but we have some work to do before we can display finished batteries.”
Currently three professors at KTH are working on this project in cooperation with Swerea SICOMP and Luleå Insitute of Technology: Göran Lindbergh, Chemical Engineering; Mats Johansson, Fibre and Polymer Technology; and Dan Zenkert, Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering.
Mats Johansson says that this project is actually about improving the mechanical properties of batteries:
“For example, the hood of the car could be part of the battery.”