Wait till you hear this one, because we’re pretty sure it’s not something you hear every day: a car relying on its own frame for power. This is something British defense firm BAE Systems is in the process of developing: it’s the carbon fiber and glass-reinforced plastics that make up the battery.
If you have your doubts about it, just look out for the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV Le Mans car, which will include such a “structural battery”: battery chemistry mixed with composite materials that make up complex 3D shapes.
Normal lithium ion batteries will provide electricity for the electric motors, while the composite train will hold the energy necessary for some on-board electronics. Each wheel will have an axial flux Oxford YASA motor to itself and only one gear.
Why this particular vehicle and not any other one? The answer lies in the Le Mans event as being a very hard endurance race, so you need the fastest car around. With this technology that’s exactly what you get: a lighter car is a winning car.
That doesn’t mean it will work for any car, that’s why the Lola-Drayson is a better choice than others: it has 850 HP and a top speed that goes past 200 mph. The team behind this project is trying to extend the car’s potential by testing both lithium ion and lithium polymers to see which work more properly in this application.
Since the world is not just about races, the technology could find use in other realms as well, like the military: in unmanned drones or flashlights helping soldiers carry their packs; or even tents and electric blankets that don’t need extra power sources.
The low power density is the one major drawback the “structural battery” presents right now, but with some luck and hard work it will make the Lola-Drayson the fastest electric car in the world.