Reuters - Video

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

In Depth

The future electric car may be one big battery

Sunday, 11 Nov, 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.

The future electric car may be one big battery

Sunday, 11 Nov, 2012 - 02:03

Editors' Picks »

The Exchange »

The Exchange: Hot commodity The Exchange: Hot commodity

Wed, 16 Jul, 2014 - (9:25)

The Exchange: Constitutional crusade The Exchange: Constitutional crusade

Wed, 25 Jun, 2014 - (11:35)

The Exchange: The value of money The Exchange: The value of money

Mon, 02 Jun, 2014 - (9:53)

The Exchange: China’s Second Continent The Exchange: China’s Second Continent

Tue, 27 May, 2014 - (9:35)

The Exchange: A master of business arts The Exchange: A master of business arts

Thu, 08 May, 2014 - (8:24)

The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities

Mon, 05 May, 2014 - (8:52)

The Exchange: Let the rocking commence The Exchange: Let the rocking commence

Tue, 08 Apr, 2014 - (8:13)

The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies

Mon, 24 Mar, 2014 - (9:54)

Is doing good a good business? Is doing good a good business?

Mon, 17 Mar, 2014 - (7:38)

Oddly Enough »

Elephants 'lovin' polo tournament Elephants 'lovin' polo tournament

Thu, 28 Aug, 2014 - (1:31)

Triplet pandas celebrate a milestone Triplet pandas celebrate a milestone

Thu, 28 Aug, 2014 - (0:48)

Group shatters record for longest flower garland by a mile Group shatters record for longest flower...

Wed, 27 Aug, 2014 - (1:30)

Masked hero sweeps clean Masked hero sweeps clean

Tue, 26 Aug, 2014 - (1:10)

Right muddy mess at World Bog Snorkeling Championships Right muddy mess at World Bog Snorkeling...

Tue, 26 Aug, 2014 - (1:11)

Hello Kitty conquers space Hello Kitty conquers space

Mon, 25 Aug, 2014 - (1:11)

Japanese zoo welcomes red panda cub Japanese zoo welcomes red panda cub

Mon, 25 Aug, 2014 - (0:42)

Is it a plane? No, it's a hoverbike Is it a plane? No, it's a hoverbike

Fri, 22 Aug, 2014 - (2:40)

Fox kicks off "Simpsons" mega marathon Fox kicks off "Simpsons" mega marathon

Thu, 21 Aug, 2014 - (0:56)

Six-story tall duck floats into L.A. port Six-story tall duck floats into L.A. port

Thu, 21 Aug, 2014 - (1:02)

Young artist paints surreal illusions on bodies Young artist paints surreal illusions on...

Thu, 21 Aug, 2014 - (1:30)

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)

Moving Pictures »

Images of August Images of August

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

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)

"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)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Thu, 03 Jul, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, 20 Jun, 2014 - (3:04)

World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals

Fri, 06 Jun, 2014 - (1:08)