ORLANDO, Fla. — University of Central Florida and NASA researchers have teamed up to develop a “power suit” for electric vehicles and spacecraft.
Officials said the suit is made of layered carbon composite material that works as an energy-storing supercapacitor-battery hybrid device.
The suit is as strong as steel, lighter than aluminum and helps boost a vehicle’s power capacity.
“Our idea is to use the body shells to store energy to supplement the power stored in batteries,” said study co-author Jayan Thomas, the team leader and a professor in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
“The advantage is that this composite can reduce the weight of your car and increase the miles per charge.”
Officials said the material, when used as a car body shell, could increase an electric car’s range by 25%, meaning a 200 miles per charge vehicle could go an extra 50 miles and reduce its overall weight.
As a supercapacitor, it would also boost an electric car’s power, giving it the extra push it needs to go from zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds.
Officials said the technology is currently at a technology readiness level of five, which means it has been tested in a relevant environment before moving to being tested in a real environment, such as on a space flight, which would be level six testing.
To pass the last level of testing, level nine, and reach the commercial environment, it will require further development and testing focused on commercial applications, officials said.
©2022 Cox Media Group