Volvo tests the C30 Electric in rough winter conditions

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 29, 2011

Volvo Cars, just like on all its other models, has exposed its Volvo C30 Electric to extreme winter conditions to guarantee that the battery-powered car still runs smoothly in temperatures as low as -20° Celsius. Over 200 different test methods have been performed for the electric vehicles.

Lennard Stegland, Volvo Cars’ Special Vehicles director, said the company must ensure that the C30 Electric performs as intended when driving, parking and charging in various conditions, from normal to very cold or hot. He added that Northern Sweden is the ideal place to conduct testing in sub-zero temperatures.

The C30 Electric has a feature that allows passengers and the driver to get comfortable heating in cold winter conditions without affecting the battery driving range.

Climate control in the passenger compartment takes place through a bio-ethanol powered heater fitted in all cars and the car’s ethanol tank can carry 14.5 liters of bio-ethanol. 

In the C30 Electric, it’s possible to run the climate unit on electricity from the batteries. An immersion heater, in electric mode, warms up the coolant in the climate unit.

Stegland added that the driver can program and control the climate unit to suit the trip. He said that ethanol is the default mode that is used when the battery capacity is required for driving, thus maximizing mobility. But he claims that on shorter trips, the climate system may be powered by electricity.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit saw the unveiling of a new Volvo prototype – the C30 BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) electric car. Currently on exhibit, the car represents Volvo’s continued commitment to developing cars with green technology. The exhibition model comes with fully furnished interior, complete equipment and a more advanced battery power plant.

Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles, mentions that Volvo aims to recognise the major technological issues they will be facing with the development of this prototype, including battery technology development and safety assurance measures. At the same time, the Volvo C30 must remain as enjoyable and stylish as it is known. “I am very happy with the result,” he says. “The electric Volvo C30 BEV in Detroit is a much more complete product.”

Volvo will begin building some test models in 2010, and in the ensuing two years, certain users will be called upon for some driving trials to obtain technical feedback and assess the general feel of the vehicles.

The project is being backed by the Swedish Energy Agency, which is subsidising SEK 150 million.

Essential feedback

One of Volvo’s major objectives with this project is to find out how customers will feel or how they will be affected by the contrasting features of a pure electric vehicle against a conventional car running on petroleum.

Lennart Stegland says the trial results of their test fleet would be of immense value for advancing Volvo’s electric car technology. He also said that the brand will gain “crucial” information that’s useful for planning the infrastructure. This will help determine the services necessary for rechargeable cars to become the most desired choice in the future.

Press Release

The Volvo C30 Electric tested in rough winter conditions

The Volvo C30 Electric has been exposed to rough winter conditions in order to ensure that the battery-powered car runs smoothly in temperatures as low as -20° Celsius.

Volvo Cars' requirements on the C30 Electric are just as stringent as on all other Volvo models and the battery-powered car is exposed to the same test regime. On top of this, several new test methods have been developed for the electric vehicles. All in all, over 200 different tests have been performed.

"We must ensure that the C30 Electric performs as intended when driving, parking and charging in a variety of conditions, from normal to very cold or hot. Northern Sweden is the perfect place to do sub-zero temperature testing," says Lennart Stegland, director of Volvo Cars' Special Vehicles.

The Volvo C30 Electric is equipped with three climate systems:
One supplies the passengers with heating or cooling.
One cools or warms the battery pack as necessary.
The electric motor and power electronics are water-cooled.
Bio-ethanol powered heater
The C30 Electric has a innovative solution that makes it possible to get comfortable heating in cold winter conditions without compromising the battery driving range.
Climate control in the passenger compartment takes place via a bio-ethanol powered heater fitted in all cars. The car's ethanol tank can carry 14.5 litres of bio-ethanol.

It is also possible to run the climate unit on electricity from the batteries. In electric mode an immersion heater warms up the coolant in the climate unit.
"The driver can program and control the climate unit to suit the trip. Ethanol is the default mode that is used when the battery capacity is needed for driving extend mobility to its maximum. However, on shorter distances electricity can be used to power the climate system," explains Lennart Stegland.

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