Lola-Drayson Electric Racer To Debut Moldable Carbon Fiber Batteries

The world of racing may seem a far cry from energy-efficient electric cars, but these two opposites are on an inevitable collision course. One of the vanguards of this melding of racing and electric vehicles is Lola-Drayson, which will debut an all-electric racer in the American Le Mans Series, in 2012.That all-electric race car, the B12/69EV, will debut as an experimental electric racer this year. Details haven’t been forthcoming, but now new information from the BBC reveals that the Lola-Drayson racer will use an experimental battery pack from BAE will utilize a moldable battery made from carbon fiber that can take on almost any shape.

The batteries have nickel battery chemistry interwoven into carbon fiber for a lightweight battery that can be cut and molded to certain specifications. This means that perhaps down the road, this batteries might not be batteries at all, but integrated components of the car body structure. The car body could literally be the battery as well. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Originally developed for the military, there are still quite a few drawbacks. The energy density is about 1-10th of that of a lithium-ion battery, so it’s not exactly a trapper keeper of power. It’s also probably expensive, and utilizes old-school nickel-hydrive battery technology instead of the much-better lithium-ion technology. But the batteries are designed to be fire resistant, and long lasting.

I for one can’t wait to see how the Lola-Drayson electric race car performs on the track, though this battery tech does have me worried. It seems to me that we’re talking about a very, very limited track time if the battery has but a ⅓ of the power density as a standard car battery. Nothing would be more damaging for an electric race car than to run out of power in the middle of a passing manauver. But the American Le Mans Series has been very welcoming of green racing technology, from hybrids to diesels, so hopefully the Lola-Drayson EV can be accommodated in a way that showcases it, without embarrassing it.

Hopefully my fears are unfounded, and this moldable battery technology proves as promising as it sounds. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

Source: The BBC

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.