In today’s electric cars, one of the greatest limiting factors is the range of cars. Most cars can drive only 200 to 300 miles before they need a recharge. A team of researchers has found that the carbon fiber which is used as a weight saving structural material can also be used as a battery component. Carbon fibers can be used as electrodes which are the materials in batteries for collection and storage of the battery charge.
The researchers started by noticing the microscopic structure of different types of carbon fibers. They found that the large carbon fibers that are oriented in the same direction are strongest but are poor when it comes to holding the electric charge, whereas small and poorly oriented carbon fibers behave the opposite of this. They are weak but can contain a considerable amount of electricity.
The team says that they have perhaps found a way to make the carbon fibers smaller and change their orientation to increase their electrical properties without weakening the strength of the fibers. This will mean that fibers will still be used in the body of a car while storing the electricity. This theory can be a breakthrough in electric vehicles. The automakers are trying to get more and more range from the lithium-ion batteries present at the bottom of electric cars, however, storing electricity in the car’s body can lead to vehicles which are lighter and can travel farther. There is also a chance that this carbon fiber technology can make its way to aircraft as well to make the planes lighter and fuel efficient.