How 'Black Panther' inspired UCF students to build electric vehicle prototype

If you’ve seen the Marvel movie Black Panther, you know all about the power suit.

Now, researchers at University of Central Florida are taking a note, and making their own power suit – for electric vehicles and NASA space flights.

 "This is the exact ‘Black Panther' suit like you see in the movie," said Deepak Pandey, a student at UCF.

Researchers at UCF have spent the last four years turning this super suit into reality.

"What we are trying to do is to store energy on the outer shell of electric cars," said Dr. Jayan Thomas, a professor of nanoscience technology at UCF. "This material is lighter than steel. It is lighter than even aluminum. At the same time, it can store energy," Dr. Thomas said.

It quite literally would encase the vehicle as a suit.

"You can use it as the roof of your electric car and it can harvest energy this part. And energy could be stored into this composite," Dr. Thomas said.

It wouldn’t look any different than the cars you’re used to seeing on the road, but the energy could really pack a punch.

"Once you see the green light of the traffic signal and you want to go ‘zoom’ that’s when you need 0 to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds. That’s when the suit can really help," Pandey said.

It could have a huge impact on the way you drive electric vehicles, tackling the "range anxiety" some drivers experience over how far the vehicle can drive before needing a charge.

"The battery dropping down to less than 1% and people will think I cannot my get my EV charged. If I see another EV charging station, I will have to wait another 5 or 6 hours maybe. But this can be really charged in just minutes," Pandey said.

That means electric vehicles could travel even farther on a single charge, giving a battery another 50-76 miles on top of the typical 200 mile charge.

Dr. Thomas and his students are also working with Nasa to add the technology to space flights.

It’s all one step closer to a Marvel-type world.

"We are very inspired by the movie and then to see something going on the road because of our research, that would be the best feeling in the world.

A major automaker is looking at one of the models right now. The researchers were not able to share which automaker, but the model is being considered for the future of electric vehicles.