First Look: Electric Volvo C30

Volvo unveiled its first electric C30 prototype in September, but already has a second-generation car ready to show at the 2010 Detroit auto show in January. Volvo will build a test fleet of its new electric C30 to help further its development.

For the new C30, Volvo took a step away from electric prototype it showed at the Frankfurt auto show in September. The second-generation electric C30 has a complete interior, full instrumentation, and improved battery packaging. It has the same passenger space as a gasoline-powered C30 and offers equivalent safety.

“The first prototype helped us identify the main challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues,” said Lennart Stegland, director of Volvo’s special vehicles group. “We have addressed these challenges without compromising the C30’s personality. I am very happy with the result. The electric C30 in Detroit is a much more complete product.”

Powering this new electric C30 is a 111-hp (82-kW) electric motor hooked up to a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, giving the car a total range of 150 km (93 miles). The sprint to 60 mph takes less 11 seconds and the car will continue on to a top speed of 81 mph with a fully charged battery. Charging the 24-kWh battery pack takes less than 8 hours from a 230-volt power outlet.

Volvo will use this car as a pattern for building an extra 50 test vehicles. The test fleet will be on the road beginning in 2011, although Volvo does not specify where the test fleet is headed. The company merely says that it will be instrumental in helping Volvo develop electric cars.

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