Advertisement

BAE, Lola Electric Race Car Tests 'Structural Batteries'

Follow Antony

Lola-Drayson ALMS All-Electric B12/69EV Racecar Prototype

Lola-Drayson ALMS All-Electric B12/69EV Racecar Prototype

Enlarge Photo

When you design a race car, you're always looking to save weight.

Minimizing some components, using high-tech materials for others and applying clever engineering can all result in a race car that's lighter, stiffer and ultimately quicker than the next guy's.

The same applies even for electric racing cars, and BBC News reveals that U.K-based BAE Systems and Lola-Drayson are collaborating on technology that uses a specially-designed battery as a structural element.

For quite some time now, formula cars have used the engine as a structural component of the chassis.

By doing so, you reduce the extra weight and space required by a chassis that would otherwise have to hold the engine, as it does in a road car. Removing this requirement allows for a lighter, stiffer racing car.

BAE Systems is applying the same theory to its battery technology, but rather than using a regular battery in a casing as a structural element, its carbon-fiber battery technology incorporates nickel-based chemistry - so rather than the battery being the basis of a structure, the structure itself is a battery.

BAE's material effectively builds a battery into the fabric of the carbon-fiber. The company's Steward Penney explains:

"A battery shaped like a beam... is just an odd-shaped battery, it isn't a structural battery,"

"The beauty of what we've got is that, when it's fully developed, a company will be able to go out and buy what is a standard carbon-composite material, lay out the shape, put it through the curing process and have a structural battery."

To prove the technology works, BAE Systems, which originally designed the technology for the military, has made an unmanned aerial vehicle from the material, as well as a hand-held torch.

The chemistry isn't perfect yet, and the current material only has about a third the energy density of your average lead-acid car battery, and about a tenth that of lithium-ion. BAE is working to improve this, as well as integrating lithium technology, for a safe, long-lasting structural battery.

The technology is currently undergoing tests in the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV electric race car, which was revealed at the Autosport Show in the U.K. a month ago.

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Take Us With You!

 

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you
Go!
Advertisement

Research New Cars

Go!


 
© 2014 MotorAuthority. All Rights Reserved. MotorAuthority is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.