Batteries, They’re heavy, take ages to recharge, have a limited lifetime and create extra safety challenges.
But.... what if a car’s body itself could store energy, reducing or possibly even eliminating the need for a big block of chemicals sat in the middle of the chassis?
Structural energy storage has been an idea of both automotive and defence manufacturers for more than a decade, and now several groups of British engineers and scientists are helping to make it a reality. If the technology can be refined, it could help to create not just better electric cars but also lighter equipment for soldiers and consumer electronics - and perhaps even aircraft.
While cars that hold hours’ worth of electricity in their roofs and wall panels might be some years off, 2012 has seen the unveiling of one of the first prototype vehicles to put the technology to use: the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV electric racing car demonstrator, which comes complete with a panel of structural energy storage carbon-fibre composite developed by BAE Systems.