Volvo Developing Plug In Hybrid Technology

Volvo Cars continues to focus heavily on advanced green technology and is now taking yet another major step forward in keeping with the company's over-riding vision - DRIVe Towards Zero. A unique joint project together with Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall is prompting the production of battery-powered Volvos featuring plug-in hybrid technology as early as 2012.

"There is no doubt that the environmental issue is at the very top of Volvo Cars' product development agenda right now," says Stephen Odell, President and CEO of Volvo Cars. "Carbon dioxide emissions from our cars will be drastically reduced by the plan we are now implementing and our aggressive electrification strategy will put us in a leading position when it comes to environmentally optimised passenger transport."

Plug-in Electrical Hybrids In Production by 2012

There are many benefits to plug-in electrical hybrids: carbon dioxide emissions are far lower and with an electric motor offering higher power, the car's performance is also far better. Being able to offer a truly attractive car that does not compromise on the other important properties that the customer wants is an absolute precondition for the market to shift towards more environmentally sustainable alternatives that really do make a difference.

Volvo Cars will put plug-in electrical hybrids on the market as early as 2012. With this technology, there is a battery pack that is used to drive an entirely emission-free electric motor. The battery is recharged via a regular wall socket and in addition, braking energy while on the move is stored and reused. This power system will be supplemented by one of Volvo's high-efficiency diesel engines. This diesel engine is designed to run on renewable synthetic diesel and will meet forthcoming extremely stringent exhaust regulations.

The car's range will be class-leading and what is more, tailpipe exhaust emissions will be virtually non-existent while the car is powered by electricity. If the battery pack is recharged with electricity produced from renewable sources, then carbon dioxide emissions from the lifecycle perspective will also be very low. In the NEDC standardised driving cycle, carbon dioxide emissions from Volvo's plug-in electrical hybrid will be lower than 50 grams/km. The plug-in electrical hybrid will thus qualify into what is known as the super-credit tax incentive band. In several European countries, a variety of incentive programmes such as tax relief will be introduced over the next few years. Cars that emit less than 50 grams of CO2/km will probably be granted the most favourable status.

Battery Powered Cars

For short distances in city traffic, dedicated battery-powered cars may well be the next step. Volvo Cars is therefore researching into this area. There are still many challenges that have to be solved with battery cars and the company is working hard to find alternative ways of reducing battery cost, increasing their performance and ensuring that Volvo's high safety requirements are met at all times. At present, there are no battery-powered cars in Volvo's product plans, but the possibility of introducing new green technology is under constant review.

Published 2 June 2009 Staff

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