2022/06/16

AIMPLAS develops a lightweight battery case for electric vehicles

Category: Plastics in the automotive and transport industries

Many drivers of electric cars are troubled by what is known as range anxiety, a common worry drivers feel when they believe their battery will run out and leave them stranded before they reach their destination. AIMPLAS is working with the SMART5G Project on a safe, new, intelligent, efficient and sustainable system that enables drivers to replace their discharged battery packs with charged ones and thus avoid waiting for their batteries to charge.

The driving force of this AEI-funded project is the design and development of a battery charging and replacement station for lightweight mobility. The project is specifically focused on developing a system that allows dead batteries to be quickly swapped for batteries charged with solar energy. The system uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to predict cars’ energy consumption and battery usage. The SMART5G Project also involves creating an intelligent, energy management platform that improves security and safety and eliminates the risk of electromagnetic interference.

According to Begoña Galindo, a Sustainable Mobility Researcher at AIMPLAS, sustainable mobility is now “a strategic priority at local, national, European and global level, which makes it essential to promote new technological solutions that guarantee safe, connected and smart mobility for personal and delivery vehicles, and reduce CO2 emissions. Lightweight, electromagnetically shielded composite materials are being developed with SMART5G to optimize these new models and ensure that the battery is protected against potential electromagnetic interference”.

lightweight battery

Thermoplastic composites for sustainable battery casings

The initiative is also developing sustainable, structural battery casings for lightweight vehicles based on reusable, recyclable, long-fibre thermoplastic composites with two functionalities: flame retardant additives and particles for electromagnetic shielding (EMI). By replacing the old metal casings with the new lightweight thermoplastic casings, this solution increases vehicle range by reducing vehicle weight, which, in turn, reduces energy costs and consumption, not to mention the carbon footprint.

“Thermoplastic matrix composites could play a key role in industry in the 21st century due to their many advantages, including weight reduction, high rigidity and specific strength comparable to metal materials. The new generation of electric car manufacturers is starting to use these plastic materials, which enable free design and make cars around 40% lighter,” said Begoña Galindo.

AIMPLAS is collaborating on the project with ITERA Mobility Engineering, ELIX Polymers and the Universitat de València (UV). The project (reference PLEC2021-007994) has been funded by MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033 and the European Union’s Next Generation funds.

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