(Images: Dick Gilbert)
I recently had the pleasure of taking two of Volvo's latest prototypes for some blissful laps around the test track in Gothenburg, Sweden. This is the first time Volvo has presented its all-electric C30, a technology still in the research phase, and I got a good feel for where the company's stands with its EV and plug-in hybrid projects.
Seen in action in the video below is the BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), based around the already-in-production Volvo C30. The car has a fantastic feel: tight handling, satisfying pickup, and a beautiful sound during acceleration. The car is outfitted with two lithium-ion batteries, one under the hood, the other beneath the trunk, giving the car a range of 150 km (about 93 miles). I also sampled a plug-in diesel hybrid, a technology that Volvo will bring to commercialization in 2012.
The C30 is a great candidate for electrification. Not only is it, in my simple opinion, a very handsome ride, but it has already been tweaked considerably for high efficiency. We've seen the ReCharge concept, also based on the C30, with its in-wheel motors. But this technology is not yet ready for prime time, and Volvo is aggressively working to refine a more conventional centralized motor layout for this project.
As handsome as the C30 is, I personally would like to see the 3CC electric concept car on the table as a candidate for mass production. While in Sweden I saw it in the Volvo museum; I must say it looks as hot and timely today as it did when it was first shown sometime around 2004.