"The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues. We have addressed these challenges without compromising the C30's personality. I am very happy with the result. The electric C30 in Detroit is a much more complete product", says Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.
The next step in the development process is a factory-built series of test cars. Selected users will drive the test fleet during a two-year trial period beginning in 2011 in order to provide Volvo Cars with valuable experience - not just technical but also behavioral. The Swedish Energy Agency is supporting the project by contributing SEK 150 million towards its funding.
The electric C30 looks like a regular Volvo C30 and promises the same safety, comfort, space and four seats as the standard car. The most obvious difference inside the car is the new instruments - the gauges and graphics are different to those in a conventional Volvo. The user-friendly combined instrument shows only road speed and energy consumption. However, it also integrates a number of new symbols such as a gauge for battery charge status and other relevant information for this type of vehicle.
An electric motor uses about one-quarter as much energy as an engine running on fossil fuels. This superior energy efficiency suggests that interest in electric cars will increase as fuel prices rise and demands for low CO2 emissions become increasingly stringent.
The Volvo C30 shown in Detroit is powered by Lithium-Ion batteries that can be recharged via either a regular household power socket or special roadside charging stations. Charging the battery fully takes about eight hours. If the car is recharged with renewable electricity, CO2 emissions could be almost zero in the well-to-wheel perspective.
Top speed with a fully charged battery pack is about 81 mph. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes less than 11 seconds. The car's range is up to 150 kilometres. This covers the daily transport needs of more than 90 percent of all motorists in Europe.
The electric motor is fitted under the bonnet while the batteries (24 kWh) are installed in the propshaft tunnel and in the space normally occupied by the fuel tank, outside the passenger compartment and away from the deformations zones.
"What is more, they are well encapsulated and the structure around them has been reinforced. Electric cars represent yet another interesting challenge in our dedication to building the world's safest cars. An electrically powered Volvo must be as safe as all other new Volvos. And the very same standards also apply to ownership, driving and protection in the event of an accident", says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Cars.Volvo C30 Electric tested in winter
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