The all-electric Volvo C30 Electric enters production this week, nearly two years on from its unveiling in concept form at the 2009 NAIAS in Detroit.
Before making it to production, 50 of the C30 Electric cars have spent the past year as part of a pilot programme in Europe, testing and fine-tuning the all-electric powertrain in day-to-day driving.
Volvo says that around 250 C30 Electrics will be built between now and the end of 2012, forming part of a lease program in Europe - similar to Mitsubishi's initial lease-only i-MiEV fleet in Australia.
How It Works
The electric C30 stores its power in a 24kWh lithium-ion battery mounted in the centre tunnel and (former) fuel tank area, giving it a driving range of up to 150km on a single charge.
Recharging the battery takes seven hours using a 230v household outlet.
Performance promises to be quite high: Volvo claims a 0-100km/h sprint time in just under 11 seconds, and a 0-50km/h time of 4 seconds flat. Top speed is a claimed 130km/h.
Heating and cooling in the cabin is managed by a bioethanol-powered heater to keep the vehicle's battery use for driving only, although the driver can choose to use battery power if required.
A local debut for the C30 Electric remains unclear. Speaking with TMR, Volvo Australia has said that a debut on our roads will depend on European tests and sales, and the outcome of a feasability study for Australian sales.
The Swedish carmaker's local arm is not without green options however, with the 80kW 1.6 litre turbodiesel C30 DRIVe using just 3.8 l/100km - making it one of Australia's most fuel-efficient cars.