|The layout of the ReCharge. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo will show a diesel-engined version of its ReCharge Concept plug-in series hybrid at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Volvo introduced a flex-fuel version of the ReCharge at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. (Earlier post.)
The diesel ReCharge uses a four-cylinder, 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine (81 kW/109 hp) to drive a generator to power the four in-wheel motors when the 12 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack is depleted. The car has a battery-powered range of about 60 miles.
A full battery recharge takes 3 hours. A one-hour quick charge should provide enough charge to drive about 30 miles, according to Volvo.
The combustion engine starts up automatically when 70% of the battery power has been depleted. However, the driver also has the option of controlling the diesel engine manually via a button in the instrument panel. This allows the driver to start the engine earlier in order to maximize battery charge, for instance when out on the highway in order to save battery capacity for driving through the next town.
Volvo says that the ReCharge Concept is best suited to car drivers who cover moderate distances every day. A commuter who has less than 60 miles to drive between home and workplace can cover the entire round trip on electric power alone, making the car a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) for most everyday driving.
For a 100 mile drive with full batteries, the first 60 miles will be with no fuel consumption and the remaining 40 miles will be at about 60 mpg. No more than 0.67 gallons of fuel is needed to go 100 miles—equivalent to 150 mpg.
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.
The ReCharge Concept that we presented in Frankfurt a few months ago had a Bioethanol engine. The concept offers unprecedented flexibility to meet future challenges. By showing the car with a diesel engine, we demonstrate that the combustion engine for the generator can be matched to the preferences of each market. The diesel engine is one of the most energy efficient alternative available today.
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.—Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo Cars
The ReCharge Concept, based on the Volvo C30, has been developed at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center (VMCC), the Volvo Car Corporation’s think-tank in Camarillo, California. The central electrical components in the Volvo ReCharge Concept demonstrator—the engine-powered generator and the wheel motors—were developed together with British electromagnetic specialists PML Flightlink.