Volvo Cars will introduce its new plug-in hybrid, the Volvo ReCharge Concept, which features individual electric wheel motors and batteries that can be recharged using a regular electrical outlet. The ReCharge Concept can be driven approximately 63 miles on battery power alone before its four-cylinder Flexifuel engine kicks in to power the vehicle and recharge the battery. The ReCharge Concept made its debut as a specially designed Volvo C30 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Future owners of the Volvo ReCharge Concept plug-in hybrid can expect a fuel savings of about 80 percent under that of a comparable gasoline-powered car. The vehicle was developed at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center (VMCC), the Volvo Car Corporation’s think-tank in Camarillo, California.
“A certain proportion of electrical vehicles will be necessary to meet the CO2 emission demands of the future. Since the Volvo ReCharge Concept combines an excellent battery range with a backup combustion engine, it is a very interesting concept,” says Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo Cars. “This is a ground-breaking innovation for sustainable transportation. A person driving less than 63 miles will rarely need to visit a filling station. In the USA, this may apply to almost 80 percent of drivers.”
The Volvo ReCharge Concept combines a number of the latest technological innovations into a so-called “series hybrid” where there is no mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels. The battery pack uses lithium-polymer battery technology and is intended to have a useful life beyond that of the car itself. Four electric motors, one at each wheel, provide independent traction power. The four-cylinder 1.6L-Flexifuel engine drives an advanced generator that effectively powers the wheel motors when the battery is depleted.
“This plug-in hybrid car, when used as intended, should have about 66 percent lower emissions of carbon dioxide compared with the best hybrid cars available on the market today. Emissions may be even lower if most of the electricity in intended markets comes from CO2-friendly sources such as biogas, hydropower, and nuclear power,” says Jonsson.
“There is a considerable difference between our plug-in hybrid and today’s hybrids,” said Ichiro Sugioka, project manager for the Volvo ReCharge Concept. “Today’s hybrids use the battery only for short periods to assist the combustion engine. Our solution is designed for most people to run on electric power all the time, while providing the extra security that comes with having a combustion engine as a secondary source of electrical power. What is more, our C30 with plug-in hybrid technology retains its lively and sporty driving properties.”