Storing energy as you go
Plan for vehicle panels that can be used as recharger
NOW they are trying to make a car whose body also serves as a rechargeable battery.
The plan is to develop it as a battery that stores braking energy while you drive and that will hold an overnight charge as well.
Volvo said this week it is one of nine participants in the project.
The backdrop to the project is the size, weight and cost of current batteries in hybrids and electric cars.
Now the Imperial College in London is bringing together the nine European companies and institutes to see if they can get around the problem.
A blend of carbon fibres and polymer resin is being developed so that the car can store and charge more energy faster than conventional batteries.
This material is extremely strong and flexible, meaning it can b e shaped for use in building the car's body panels.
According to calculations, the new car's weight could be cut by as much as 15pc if steel body panels were replaced with the new material.
But we won't have results overnight. The project will take three years.