So far we have had Chevy, Ford and Toyota showing off plug-in hybrids in various stages of production. Next up in the plug-in parade: Volvo. Volvo has already shown off its eco-chops with advances in fuel efficiency, creating a prototype that can run on five different fuels, and creating the world's first CO2-free auto plant. Volvo's ReCharge is the latest green car news from the company. Think of the ReCharge as an electric car first, and a hybrid second. For 60+ miles, the ReCharge will operate as a full electric vehicle, drawing power off the lithium-polymer battery. When the battery power lowers to 30%, the "four-cylinder Flexifuel engine" begins to charge the battery.
Performace-wise, the ReCharge stands up well to other plug-ins. On a 150km (93 mile) drive, the car is expected to get about 124mpg. Recharging? 3 hours for a full charge on a "regular" plug and enough juice to get you 30 miles on a one-hour charge. Need to zoom past those pokey Sunday drivers? How does a top speed of 100mph and 0-62mph in 9 seconds sound? The ReCharge also sports all-wheel drive, courtesy of the four wheel motors. From the press release:
With an individual electric motor at each wheel, weight distribution as well as mechanical efficiency and traction are maximised and the friction in mechanical gears is eliminated. Since the car does not have the transmission found in ordinary cars, there is no need for a gear lever.
All this, and reduced emissions - the ReCharge is expected (by company figures) to produce 66% less CO2 emmissions than the standard hybrid. Let's get this concept on the production line!