If you got excited at Volvo's electric vehicle prototype at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, you should definitely check out the Detroit Auto Show where the carmaker displays a further development of the battery-powered electric C30. This car in Detroit has a full interior with instrumentation and its battery packaging is enhanced.
Volvo plans to create a test fleet of 50 battery-powered C30s for a two-year trial starting in 2011. Like the conventional car, the electric C30 will seat four. On the instrument panel, you only see the road speed and energy consumption. There's also a new gauge for the status of the battery charge.
The car has no gears and the driver can access full power right away. Its lithium ion batteries can either be charged in a household socket or at a roadside station. For a full charge, the car has to be plugged in for eight hours.
Under the hood, you will find the electric motor. Meanwhile, the batteries are installed in the propshaft tunnel and in the space typically occupied by the fuel tank. The car has a range of up to 150km (93 miles), which Volvo claims would cover the daily driving needs of about 90% of European motorists.
The electric-powered C30 is similar to the regular Volvo C30 in many aspects. Like the regular C30, it also provides the same level of comfort, safety, and space. There is a glaring difference between the two though and it is in the instruments in front of the driver, particularly the graphics and its gauges.
The instrument panel, for example, only shows the amount of energy consumed and the current road speed, despite it being user-friendly. The electric-powered version’s instruments now have new symbols added to it.
A good example is that the gauge now has an indicator to show the status of the battery charge. Driving the electric C30 is no different to driving a standard car. However since the C30 BEV does not have any gears and is able to deliver power from the motor with no effort whatsoever, full power can be obtained at once. According to Lennart Stegland, being able to cruise while making no sound is an amazing experience by itself.
However, he adds, power is available instantly. Stegland further says that they took the time to make sure that the transmission was not only safe but also comfortable enough to be handled by the driver. The company also made sure that the capacity of the battery could be used to its maximum regardless of the speed.
For cars that run on electricity, there are certain factors that need to be considered in order to know their viability for the future. Volvo Cars Director of Electrification Strategy Paul Gustavsson shares that the consumers must be made to appreciate that electric cars are a good option, whether to own one or to drive it.
This is the main reason why cars like this should not only offer safety and comfort but also the same performance level as that of cars using non-electric sources. Gustavsson adds that the company continues to have faith in this particular technology and conducted field test to show that the market potential is strong for electric cars.
It is not enough to just make a car that is attractive but to have a system of subsidies in order to make the rather expensive battery technology affordable to the consumers, he further adds. The company hopes that authorities and society as a whole will follow them in their "Drive Towards Zero," a journey to zero emissions, Gustavsson concludes.