Queensland University Of Tech May Have Just Invented Cars Powered By Their Body Panels

Cars could soon be powered by the panels covering them, according to the Queensland University of Technology, after a successful experiment involving Graphene.

Graphene, or, "fightin' Graphene, the material that just won't quit", is being hailed by some as the new plastic. It can do some amazing things.

This recent example is no exception -- researchers at QUT were able to create a thin, strong film with electrolytes in the middle and all-carbon electrodes layers on either side, to make an electricity sandwich that could be used in a variety of ways. Its storage capacity for power isn't as large as a normal car battery, but it is capable of exerting power at a very high rate -- ideal, says PhD researcher Marco Notarianni, for the extra burst in power needed to accelerate electric cars.

The long, thin film created in the lab wouldn't be hard to put inside car panels. Dr Jinzhang Liu, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, said after improvements we could see electric cars completely powered in this way.

In the future, it is hoped the supercapacitor will be developed to store more energy than a Li-Ion battery while retaining the ability to release its energy up to 10 times faster - meaning the car could be entirely powered by the supercapacitors in its body panels.   After one full charge this car should be able to run up to 500km - similar to a petrol-powered car and more than double the current limit of an electric car.

Liu said another potential use for the technology would be placing a strip on the back of mobile phones, to give them a quick charge.

It's also environmentally friendly, and compared to batteries based on lithium, will remain cheap (and probably get cheaper).

[Electric Cars] via Shutterstock