It very well be true that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of automobiles, but they still have a ways to go before they can really replace most traditional internal combustion engines. Most significantly, perhaps, is the fact that the battery technology still hasn’t reached the point where EVs can have the range and versatility of current gas-powered cars. But, a new technology that was just announced by Volvo, could change that.
The new tech, which has been nearly 4 years in development and was being researched by Imperial College London with funding assistance from the EU, essentially has come up with a new type of battery system which integrates battery components into the frame of the vehicle.
That’s right. The new technology essentially puts the batteries inside the paneling of the car, like the doors and hood, which Volvo says allows them to achieve a significant reduction in the weight of battery components, while also providing a quicker charge rate than current battery technologies which can often take 6 hours or more to fully charge from empty.
Of course, the question on everyone’s minds (including ours) is what does integrating the battery systems into the body of the car do for safety? The prominent EV maker Tesla Motors recently came under fire for a car fire that happened in one of their vehicles when a foreign object lodged itself into the battery and caused it to explode.
So, what would having car batteries integrated into the frame of the vehicle do for safety and, just as importantly, what kind of impact would it have for auto repair. We can imagine that in addition to potential safety concerns, this kind of tech may make getting a simple dent repair at the auto shop significantly more expensive. Probably more-so, considering the work might very well have to be done at the dealership rather than at a local repair or auto shop because of the additional training required to work on this kind of technology.
A press release touting the new technology did not address these safety or auto repair concerns. The technology is certainly interesting, but these are questions that will have to be answered in order for it to become mainstream acceptable.