Volvo has invested £150,000 in a company that says it has developed am energy-efficient conductor that could revolutionise hybrid and electric car making.

The conductor is used, among other things, when battery direct current is converted into alternating current in an electric motor. The basis for most semi-conductors in vehicles today is silicon, which has the double disadvantage that it can withstand neither high temperatures nor high electrical voltages.

TranSiC AB, however, has developed a conductor based on silicon carbide, which is as tough as a diamond and has enormous resistance to heat.

Another advantage with silicon carbide is that the vehicle’s electronics can be made far smaller and much more compact. This, in turn, makes the entire vehicle lighter and cheaper.

In short, if this new conductor is developed further, it could see the cost of producing hybrid cars drop significantly, meaning they’ll be cheaper to buy and more usable. The electric revolution could start here.