A car powered by its own body panels could soon be driving on our roads after a breakthrough in nanotechnology research by a Queensland University of Technology (Australia) team. They developed lightweight supercapacitors that can be combined with regular batteries to dramatically boost the power of an electric car. The supercapacitors were made into a thin and extremely strong film with a high power density.

QUT's Professor Nunzio Motta with one of the university's powerful nanotechnology microscopes.

The film could be embedded in a car's body panels, roof, doors, bonnet, and floor, storing enough energy to turbocharge an electric car's battery in just a few minutes. A car partly powered by its own body panels could be a reality within five years.

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.