Munich, Germany – A new lightweight battery box may be the next major improvement for electric vehicles. Engineers at the research organization Fraunhofer in Germany have developed a container for lithium-ion batteries made of a lightweight component.

The housing saves weight, sustains no damage in a crash, and for the first time ever can also be mass-produced, the researchers said. The battery box is being tested in an Artega GT sports car that has been modified into a prototype electric vehicle.

The new housing is made of fibre-reinforced composite materials and weighs 35 kilograms; the researchers said that traditional steel boxes can weigh up to 25 per cent more. The box has withstood crashes with a sharp object at 60 km/h with no damage to the battery inside, while a semi-permeable membrane equalizes pressure and guarantees that the batteries are able to “breathe.”

The researchers will present the battery housing at the 2011 Composites Europe Fair in Stuttgart later this month.

Connect with