Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

In Depth

The future electric car may be one big battery

Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 02:03

Swedish researchers believe the problem of battery efficiency in electric cars can be solved by turning the car's entire frame into one, big battery. They say their solution would remove the drag created by today's heavy batteries, vastly increasing the range of electric cars. Jim Drury has the story.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

A common problem among electric cars is the size and weight of their batteries, which causes drag and reduces the distances they can travel. Researchers across Europe are working on a novel solution - turning the car's frame into a self-contained battery. Called the 'STORAGE' project, the plan envisages replacing much of the steel used in conventional car frames, with polymer composite materials that can store energy. Head of Research at Swerea research institute, Leif Asp, says it's a practical and inexpensive solution. SOUNDBITE (English) SWEREA-SICOMP HEAD OF RESEARCH LEIF ASP SAYING: "We conduct research on polymer composite materials which are multifunctional. That means that they can exhibit at least two functions at the same time. In this case it is energy storing and structural load carrying capacity...We can employ commercially available carbon fibres. Some of these carbon fibres have these multifunctional capabilities without anybody looking for it beforehand. So it is actually possible to use commercially available fibres for making structural batteries." This car model was built by scientists at Imperial College London. Its carbon fibre laminate roof would replace existing metallic components. SOUNDBITE (English) SWEREA-SICOMP HEAD OF RESEARCH LEIF ASP SAYING: "You can see that we have removed all the batteries that we had to usually drive the car. Now the only power source that we have in the demonstrator is the structural super capacity roof. If I unplug this rebuilt hand control I can light up the headlights of the car." But there are other places in the car, like the wheel-well, where carbon fibre laminate could be used to create and store power. Asp says that while such structural batteries might still take decades to produce commercially, they could eventually have widespread uses, not just in cars but in laptop computers or cell phones. Swerea is just one of several European research institutes involved in the project. Their aim is to increase the efficiency and popularity of electric cars, ultimately persuading a generation of car-buyers to leave fossil fuels behind.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

The future electric car may be one big battery

Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 02:03

Editors' Picks »

Most Popular »

Business »

Moving Pictures »

Dance of the northern lights Dance of the northern lights

Mon, 20 Oct, 2014 - (1:08)

Images of September Images of September

Thu, 02 Oct, 2014 - (1:00)

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, 05 Sep, 2014 - (2:05)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, 01 Sep, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, 22 Aug, 2014 - (3:12)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, 29 Aug, 2014 - (1:00)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, 11 Aug, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, 08 Aug, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Fri, 01 Aug, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, 11 Jul, 2014 - (1:00)

Oddly Enough »

Giant rubber duck on show in Shanghai Giant rubber duck on show in Shanghai

Thu, 23 Oct, 2014 - (1:06)

Black bear cub goes Sunday shopping Black bear cub goes Sunday shopping

Thu, 23 Oct, 2014 - (0:27)

Christie's opens new Shanghai office Christie's opens new Shanghai office

Wed, 22 Oct, 2014 - (1:13)

White lion cubs unveiled to the public White lion cubs unveiled to the public

Tue, 21 Oct, 2014 - (1:01)

Ebola Halloween getup stirs controversy Ebola Halloween getup stirs controversy

Tue, 21 Oct, 2014 - (1:14)

Cuddly Ebola toy almost wiped out Cuddly Ebola toy almost wiped out

Mon, 20 Oct, 2014 - (0:34)

New MoMA exhibit cut out for Matisse New MoMA exhibit cut out for Matisse

Thu, 16 Oct, 2014 - (1:28)

London's Frieze art fair tests your senses London's Frieze art fair tests your senses

Thu, 16 Oct, 2014 - (1:28)

Paris streets become gallery for Plato-inspired sculptures Paris streets become gallery for...

Wed, 15 Oct, 2014 - (1:21)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, 19 Feb, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, 10 Jan, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, 29 Aug, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, 29 Aug, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, 05 Aug, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, 17 Dec, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sun, 09 Dec, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Mon, 10 Dec, 2012 - (10:39)