Will the future of the electric car be in the structural battery?

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While the batteries of today’s electric vehicles are only used to power the engine, structural batteries could also serve as components of the vehicle’s structure.

hThe idea is not new, but research carried out by a team from the University of Technology Chalmersas helped evolve the concept by combining it with carbon fiber. It is then used for the electrode as well as as a conductor and carrying material.

The interest is that the batteries are heavy and only serve to store energy. But with so-called structural batteries, they can also help to build the very structure of the vehicle. Provided they are strong enough to be used in this way, the weight gain is obvious. Tesla will also use this type of battery in the future tesla semi.

After many years of research, the research team has developed a process to make them rigid and strong enough to integrate the body of the vehicle through the use of carbon fiber. The researchers combine this carbon fiber for the negative electrode with an aluminum foil for the positive electrode. It is covered with lithium iron phosphate, all separated by a fiberglass fabric.

This combination of materials allows for an energy density 20% higher than conventional batteries. Improved energy density combined with reduced vehicle weight improves efficiency. In other words, with less weight to move, the vehicle uses less energy. This makes it possible to reduce battery capacity while achieving the same battery life.

For now, the stiffness of their battery prototype reaches 25 GPa. This resistance is equivalent to the majority of the materials used for the construction of car bodies. The project manager at Chalmers University believes that it is possible to achieve a rigidity of 75 GPa, the equivalent of aluminum, but with a significantly lower weight.

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