Fellow TreeHugger Jacob Gordon already took the Volvo C30 electric car for a spin in Sweden. But given that Sweden can get pretty darned cold, and knowing that battery performance in cold weather has often been seen as an obstacle for electric vehicles, you have to wonder how the Volvo C30 will perform when the temperatures dip.
We've already seen Nissan adding a more efficient heater to the 2013 LEAF to improve cold weather performance, now Robert Llewellyn took a trip to Kiruna, Sweden, inside the Arctic Circle to explore how the Swede's were handling the issue of temperature. (Having first taken a ride in a new Bluebird electric delivery vehicle that looks a lot like an old electric milk float.)
What's cool about the Volvo C30 test drive is the mild Swedish winter weather (5 or 6 degrees below freezing) was not considered cold enough for Volvo's tastes, so they stuck the cars in a deep freeze to chill them to minus 25 degrees centigrade to fully demonstrate how the heaters work. Using an innovative combination of an electric immersion heater, an electric ptc element (like a hair dryer), and a bioethanol fuel-based heater, the system can dramatically reduce the strain on the car's batteries and increase driving range.
It's pretty neat, and Llewellyn looks suitably impressed, if a little cold. We don't get the official figures on the range, but Mr Llewllyn tells us he used less than half the battery on his long drive into "the middle of nowhere". (Unless I missed it, he didn't give us the actual distance.)