April 02, 2013 | By: Vidyanath Aarvi

Energy Storing Car Body Panels

        Estimates reveal that the conventional energy resources such as petroleum, diesel would dwindle over the years and also the threat of global warming, ozone layer depletion etc. reason out the environmental concern. It is in the light of these facts that the automobile industry seeks to investigate alternative energy resources and while hybrid vehicles are a promising option they also present the problem of increased volume and weight of the storage batteries they carry.

         Automobile manufacturers are therefore interested in minimizing the need of batteries in storing the energy generated and the other concern that the automobile industry endures over is to reduce the overall weight of the car by the use of light weight composites.
         Do these distinct problems/challenges rather suggest a unified solution that we can work upon? Probably, Yes. Then, we need to talk about “Energy storing body panels”. Body panels that could store energy and pass it back to the car when needed imply an active area of research today to the automobile industry. Light weight composites of polymer fiber and carbon resin present a luring scope here. These panels could reduce a car's weight by up to 15 percent.

        Technologies like regenerative braking or plugging in the car overnight would feed these panels with energy. An advanced view however is to have light weight body panels that can tap solar energy and supply it to the car while in need, the automobile manufacturer Toyota is keen about these prospects. Enabling the use of body panels with additional functionalities of tapping and storing the energy is therefore a promising solution to overcome the challenges in automobile industry.