Volvo C30 BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) makes its debut in Frankfurt

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 25, 2010

The brand new Volvo C30 BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) made its debut today at the Frankfurt Motor Show, of course. This is the first electric vehicle from the Swedish manufacturer and shows that Volvo Cars' ambitious electrification strategy has quickly produced concrete results.

The new vehicle previews the introduction of a a plug-in hybrid in 2012 and has the duty to evaluate the viability of an entirely electric-powered car. "The Volvo C30 is the first model we will try out with electric power. This car's excellent properties in city traffic and its relatively low weight make it particularl

Volvo C30 BEV is powered by a Litium-Ion battery that is charged via a regular power socket found in most homes (230V, 16A), a full recharge taking about eight hours.

The electric motor is housed under the bonnet, just like the engine in a conventional car. One of the priorities within the BEV project is to find the optimal placing of the battery. Most likely is the prop shaft tunnel and the place where the fuel tank normally is located the best places.

The new car has a top speed of 130 km/h, sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 11 seconds and has a range of up to 150 kilometres.

All products of Volvo Cars follow the same high standards of safety regardless of what kind of fuel was used or how power was sourced. The brand has always been dedicated to safety focusing on people and basing it on a good knowledge of actual traffic situations. Volva also conducted in-house tests using computer simulations and actual performance in crash-test laboratories. Thus when Volvo offers new vehicles, electric or otherwise, safety is guaranteed.

Volvo has, in theory, managed to identify various electricity-related safety scenarios in stages that happen in a collision: before, during, and after. As a result, Volvo engineers were able to create solutions that would answer the situations identified.

Hence, it’s more than assured that any future electric cars that Volvo releases will continue to have the safety standards many have become familiar with. Volvo Cars' primary electrification track for the coming years will be plug-in hybrids. This is particularly true for its larger car models. Combining a combustion engine and an electric motor is seen as a possible solution that provides the greatest benefits in both a technical aspect and commercial viewpoint.

Plug-in hybrids not only have good environmental performance but also provide a long range. It also ensures that customers limit their dependence on battery technology. There are however several factors that can decide if electric cars are to be successful in the future.

Volvo Cars Director of Electrification Strategy Paul Gustavsson shared that consumers must understand that an electric car has a tremendous appeal for the owner and the driver. Volvo has the guts to make this guarantee because it develops its electric cars to not only be safe and comfortable but to offer the level of performance similar to that of other cars using other power sources.

The results of the C30 BEV project enabled Volvo to meet all these requirements and even helped in exhibiting its determination to help in the development of the field of electrification, Gustavsson added.

Press Release

All-electric Volvo C30 project presented for the first time

It looks like a regular Volvo C30 and it features the very same safety, comfort and space as the standard car. The difference is that it is powered solely by electricity, entirely without exhaust emissions, and has a range of up to 150 kilometres.

Volvo Cars' ambitious electrification strategy has quickly produced concrete results. In addition to the market introduction of a plug-in hybrid in 2012, work is currently under way on evaluating the viability of an entirely electric-powered car known as a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle).

In 2009, a small number of prototype versions of the C30 BEV have been built and tested internally by Volvo. In addition to focusing on performance and safety, much of the focus is on integration of the electric propulsion system with the rest of the car.

"The Volvo C30 is the first model we will try out with electric power. This car's excellent properties in city traffic and its relatively low weight make it particularly suitable, since electric cars are primarily expected to be used in and around cities and for daily commuting," says Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.

Technical solution

Electricity is highly suitable as a fuel for passenger cars. It is the superior energy efficiency of the electric motor compared with the combustion engine which suggests that electric cars will become increasingly common in the future as fuel prices rise and demands for low CO2 emissions become ever more stringent.

The Volvo C30 BEV is powered with a Litium-Ion battery that is charged via a regular power socket found in most homes.

Recharging an entirely depleted battery via the regular household power supply system (230V, 16A) will take about eight hours. If the car is charged with renewable electricity this means that emissions - all the way from electricity production to its use out on the road - will in principle be non-existent.

The electric motor is housed under the bonnet, just like the engine in a conventional car. One of the priorities within the BEV project is to find the optimal placing of the battery. Most likely is the prop shaft tunnel and the place where the fuel tank normally is located the best places. These locations are within the car's optimised crumple zone in the most common collision scenarios. Since the car runs solely on electricity, it requires a larger battery with higher capacity (24 kWh) than in the case of the plug-in hybrid (12 kWh).

Battery capacity

The C30 BEV is limited to a top speed of about 130 kilometres an hour, which will be more than sufficient for most users of this type of car. Acceleration from 0 to 100 kilometres an hour will take less than 11 seconds. The car will have a range of up to 150 kilometres. This range is longer and far better than the distance 90 percent of all Europe's motorists drive per day.

The same safety standards as always

Volvo Cars imposes the very same high safety standards on all its products irrespective of the type of fuel or power source used. Volvo's safety dedication is always focused on the human being and is based on solid know-how of real-life traffic situations. What is more, comprehensive in-house tests are carried out both virtually and in Volvo's highly advanced crash-test laboratory. If Volvo chooses to introduce an entirely new type of electric car on the market, it will be just as safe as any other car bearing the Volvo badge.

Volvo has theoretically identified all the electrification-related safety scenarios in the stages before, during and after a collision. After careful study of these scenarios, the company's engineers will create solutions for handling each and every situation identified, guaranteeing that any future electric cars fully match Volvo's renowned safety standards in every respect.

Market potential

Volvo Cars' main electrification track over the coming decades is plug-in hybrids. This applies in particular to the company's larger car models. The combination of electric motor and combustion engine is the solution that probably has the greatest potential from both the technical and commercial viewpoints. Plug-in hybrids offer long range, good environmental performance and at the same time limited dependence on expensive battery technology.

There are several factors that determine how successful dedicated electric cars will be in the future:

"The consumer must feel that this type of car is attractive both to drive and own. In order to ensure this, we feel that electric cars will have to be as comfortable and safe and offer similar levels of performance as cars with other power sources. The learning from the C30 BEV project will help us to fulfil all these criteria and showcase Volvo's determination to drive developments in the field of electrification," says Paul Gustavsson, Director of Electrification Strategy at Volvo Cars.

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