Steane Klose | Apr 1, 2008

Remember Volvo’s 2007 C30 ReCharge Concept? The C30 ReCharge gave us a glimpse of how future Volvo’s could be powered and that the Swedish manufacturer is not intending to sit on its hands while the likes of Toyota enjoy free reign in the realm of plug-in hybrid development.

In conjunction with Swedish electricity provider Vattenfall, Saab Automobile, the Electro Technological Centre and the Swedish government, Volvo Car Corporation is launching a broad-based joint research venture to spearhead the development of plug-in hybrid cars.

The aim of the project is to develop and demonstrate the next generation of hybrid cars. A planned fleet of 10 plug-in hybrids that can be recharged directly from a mains wall socket will be produced. Field tests for the project will be conducted in Sweden.

"I see this project as a positive further development of sustainable personal transport. We have a unique opportunity to take the lead when it comes to innovations for advanced green-car technology.We want to be involved in setting up the rules for the future and to help build up broad-based competence in Sweden in this vital area," said Fredrik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.

Over a five-year period, Volvo will invest just over 11 billion SEK ($2 billion AUD) in development aimed at reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

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In Europe, Volvo already offers its customers one of the industry's widest ranges of Flexi fuel engines. It is also working to continue enhancing the efficiency of its petrol and diesel-powered cars, which will see Volvo launch vehicles that release less than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre this year.

While development of the plug-in hybrid continues, Volvo is also focusing some of its attention on the hybrid as we know it today and intends to introduce hybrid variants where an electric motor supports the combustion engine.

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In the longer term though, it is plug-in hybrids like the C30 ReCharge Concept that will be introduced as Volvo, like all manufacturers looks to satisfy future CO2 legislation.

"Within the next decade, electric vehicles are going to be needed if we are to meet forthcoming CO2 legislation," says Arp.

The C30 ReCharge Concept is capable of cutting emissions of CO2 by around 65 percent compared with current hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius.

In addition, if the electricity comes from CO2-sustainable sources such as hydroelectric power and wind-generated power, this figure improves still further.

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