|EUROPA: Research Information Centre
Last Update: 2018-08-14 Source: Research Headlines
|View this page online at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?artid=49617|
Electric cars: fast forward with plastic battery rack
Could the battery racks in electric cars be greener? Lighter? More affordable, and easier to assemble? Significant gains could be achieved and could help the deployment of such vehicles pick up the pace, say EU-funded researchers who have developed sophisticated housing made of plastic rather than metal.
© Patrick P. Palej #177931297, 2018. Source: fotolia.com
Focusing on full electric vehicles, the EU-funded project Opera4FEV put forward an innovation which could be harnessed for any model. The partners point out that the design of its thermoplastic battery rack could be adapted as necessary for a variety of shapes and configurations. The scope to do so would help to optimise the use of space and enable car manufacturers to add more batteries, they note.
Electrical and hydraulic connections are integrated into the Opera4FEV housing solution, significantly reducing the number of parts requiring assembly compared to conventional metal racks. According to the researchers estimates, the new racks would also be more affordable: the plastic parts could cost up to five times less, if produced in large numbers.
These features would help to reduce construction time and cost and thus help to drive the roll-out of full electric vehicles forward, the partners observe. The housing is also 30 % lighter, and up to a third of the plastic used in the racks can be made from recycled polymer.
The proposed thermoplastic racks would be eco-friendlier in general, the researchers conclude, and they also expect the product to outperform its metallic counterpart in terms of safety. Detailed assessments and a series of crash tests were carried out as part of the project, which ended in August 2016. The consortium, which was led by a private-sector partner in Monaco, also involved entities in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.