nanotubesResearchers in Germany have found a way to use carbon nanotubes to heat cars in cold weather, meaning that electric vehicle batteries won’t be responsible for providing that extra energy. That means more miles driven before charging and since the nanotubes can change temperature immediately, drivers won’t need to wait for their cars to heat up anymore.

It’s harder to heat up electric vehicles than traditional, fossil fuel-burning models. The process of combusting fuel generates a lot of heat, but in electric cars, the batteries are responsible for making all of the warmth.

The new nanotubes are ultra-thin, at just a few micrometers thick, so they can be installed nearly anywhere.

Scientists at Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, Germany coated a film with conductive carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes are more efficient at turning electricity into heat, and can heat up or cool down almost instantaneously. While they can be installed in a multitude of places, the researchers report that future nanotubes will be designed so that they can be installed inside the car’s parts that are closest to passengers to maximize comfort.

Carbon nanotechnology will likely shape the future of eco-friendly technology. The novel material has become integrated in the research of many different aspects of green technology to solar cells, to purifying water, to electric vehicle batteries.

Image (c) Fraunhofer Institute

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