Body-panel batteries from Volvo: Carbon fibres, nano structured batteries & super capacitors

Body-panel batteries from Volvo: Carbon fibres, nano structured batteries & super capacitors


Volvo Car Group has developed a concept for lightweight structural energy storage components that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles.

The material, consisting of carbon fibres, nano structured batteries and super capacitors, offers lighter energy storage that requires less space in the car, cost effective structure options and is eco-friendly.

The EU-funded research project, including nine other major participants, identified a feasible solution to the heavy weight, large size and high costs associated with the batteries seen in hybrids and electric cars today, whilst maintaining the efficient capacity of power and performance. The research project took place over 3.5 years and is now realised in the form of car panels within a Volvo S80 experimental car.

The breakthrough

The answer was found in the combination of carbon fibres and a polymer resin, creating a very advanced nanomaterial, and structural super capacitors. The reinforced carbon fibres sandwich the new battery and are moulded and formed to fit around the car’s frame, such as the door panels, the boot lid and wheel bowl, substantially saving on space. The carbon fibre laminate is first layered, shaped and then cured in an oven to set and (more…)

Business lease & fleet management operator focussing on e-mobility

Business lease & fleet management operator focussing on e-mobility


As often reported here; business vehicle and rental fleets are a key part of taking EVs to the mass market – not only are fleets a bigger win in terms of the number of vehicles covered per transaction, but they also influence the market in other ways:

1) Fleet operators and businesses that offer company lease vehicles to staff, are an obvious target for expanding charge networks: charge points at the work-place is a key part of the strategy in most countries to encourage adoption of plug-in vehicles. It makes sense for many business to reduce fuel costs long term, through a short-term investment in charge hardware that can be off-set as a capital expenditure. Installing charge points at employees homes is another possibility, and would be considered an employee benefit for many staff.

2) Pragmatism: with the right information in front of them; Businesses tend to be more likely to recognise cost savings, and act by incorporating vehicles in to their fleets that reduce longer-term operating costs, because businesses are focussed on the bottom line: Businesses are more likely to invest short term than many than consumers who might find it harder, or less-attractive to spend more at the (more…)

Volkswagen UK partners with Ecotricity to offer green energy package to customers

Volkswagen UK partners with Ecotricity to offer green energy package to customers



For a car manufacturer that only last year were considered by some to be behind their major competitors with electric vehicle development, Volkswagen seem to have caught up very fast, and will be entering many markets ahead of their competitors, with a compelling product.

The first Volkswagen Group electric car to go on sale in the UK will be the Volkswagen e-up! city car. Order books will open in November, with the first deliveries in January 2014. Following this and on sale mid-2014 will be the e-Golf, followed at the end of the year by the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid. Key to the success of these cars will be their ‘normality’: avoiding the compromises which are frequently required when purchasing an alternatively-powered vehicle, these are conventional and existing popular hatchbacks – powered by electricity.

Volkswagen Group (UK) Limited has signed a partnership deal with green energy supplier, Ecotricity, to provide a 100 per cent green energy offer to all customers purchasing an electric-powered vehicle from one of the Group brands.

The announcement comes shortly after the Volkswagen Group’s Chairman, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, announced on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show that the (more…)

All-electric Kia Soul confirmed for UK

All-electric Kia Soul confirmed for UK

Following the news last week that Kia will launch an all-electric car for the US market in 2014, the all-electric version of the new Kia Soul is definitely coming to the UK, but the company is still debating whether the batteries will be part of the sales package or supplied on a monthly lease basis, and they aren’t exactly ambitious about sales volumes.

“We want the car,” says Yaser Shabsogh, the company’s UK commercial director. “We have the technology so we want it so we can demonstrate it. It gives us a real branding opportunity.”

The Soul EV is likely to arrive in the UK in just over 12 months’ time – eight months or so after the combustion-engined models.

“We are still working on our strategy for the EV,” says Shabsogh. “We haven’t decided yet whether we are going to sell the battery or lease it.”

If the car is sold as a complete package Shabsogh anticipates a price of at least £20,000 before the government’s low emission vehicle grant of up to £5,000.

“It is not going to be priced to try to stimulate demand,” Shabsogh says. “We won’t be selling hundreds of them – maybe a couple of hundred, mostly in (more…)