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Volvo Working on Battery-Electric C30; EnerDel Li-ion Pack

The C30 BEV. Click to enlarge.

In addition to its planned market introduction of a plug-in hybrid in 2012 (earlier post), Volvo Cars is currently evaluating the viability of a fully battery-electric vehicle (BEV). This year, Volvo has built and been internally testing a small number of prototype versions of a BEV version of its C30. In addition to focusing on performance and safety, much of the focus is on integration of the electric propulsion system with the rest of the car.

The Volvo C30 BEV is powered by a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack; for its plug-in hybrid, Volvo is eyeing a 12 kWh pack. Recharging the C30 BEV pack via a household supply (230V, 16A) will take about eight hours.

The Volvo C30 is the first model we will try out with electric power. This car’s excellent properties in city traffic and its relatively low weight make it particularly suitable, since electric cars are primarily expected to be used in and around cities and for daily commuting.

—Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles

Battery pack packaging in a C30 BEV. Click to enlarge.

The battery in the C30 BEV is designed and developed in the US by EnerDel, Inc., Ener1’s US battery subsidiary. This follows the recently announced collaboration with Volvo on the plug-in hybrid V70 demonstration vehicles being road tested in Europe this fall, which also feature EnerDel lithium-ion batteries.

The EnerDel battery for the C30 battery electric vehicle (BEV) is custom-made and is a split battery pack, with an energy content of more than 24 kWh nominal energy, of which 22.7 kWh is used to power the car. It uses EnerDel’s EV chemistry: hard carbon and mixed oxide.

The electric motor is housed under the hood, just like the engine in a conventional car. One of the priorities within the BEV project is to find the optimal placing of the battery. Most likely is the prop shaft tunnel and the place where the fuel tank normally is located. These locations are within the car’s optimized crumple zone in the most common collision scenarios.

The C30 BEV is limited to a top speed of about 130 km/h (80 mph)—more than sufficient, Volvo says, for most users of this type of car. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h will take less than 11 seconds. The car will have a range of up to 150 kilometers (93 miles)—longer than the distance 90% of all Europe’s motorists drive per day.

Volvo emphasized its focus on safety, saying that if it chooses to introduce an entirely new type of electric car on the market, it will be just as safe as any other car bearing the Volvo badge.

Volvo says it has theoretically identified all the electrification-related safety scenarios in the stages before, during and after a collision. After careful study of these scenarios, the company’s engineers will create solutions for handling each and every situation identified, guaranteeing that any future electric cars fully match Volvo’s safety standards in every respect.

Volvo’s market outlook. Volvo Cars says that its main electrification track over the coming decades is plug-in hybrids. This applies in particular to the company’s larger car models. The combination of electric motor and combustion engine is the solution that probably has the greatest potential from both the technical and commercial viewpoints, according to the company. Plug-in hybrids offer long range, good environmental performance and at the same time limited dependence on expensive battery technology.

The consumer must feel that this [battery electric] car is attractive both to drive and own. In order to ensure this, we feel that electric cars will have to be as comfortable and safe and offer similar levels of performance as cars with other power sources. The learning from the C30 BEV project will help us to fulfil all these criteria and showcase Volvo’s determination to drive developments in the field of electrification.

—Paul Gustavsson, Director of Electrification Strategy at Volvo Cars


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With all the EV news from Frankfurt it seems that everybody is going to sell EVs in a few years from now. One feature we have not seen is an EV that can charge faster than the 50kW that is possible with the Leaf and the iMiEV (Tesla roadster does 25kW at most). 50kW is enough to charge a 24kWh battery or 100 miles in 30 minutes. It is a 2C charge and we know that there are multiple cells in the market that can do 10C continuous. In other words, there should be no technical obstacles to make an EV that can charge 100 miles in 5 minutes or the same time that it takes to fill a conventional car with gasoline. 30 minutes is simply not an acceptable wait at a gas/charge station. 10 minutes will be fine as it could be combined with some shopping errands.

Hopefully, Volvo or somebody else with exhibit an EV with the ability to charge 100 miles in 10 minutes or less in Frankfurt in 2010.

Some students at MIT are working on the project to build such a fast charging EV maybe they need some help from an established automaker. See link to their project


As I said back a few years the primary markets for evs will be either cheap econboxes or high end luxury cars. Up until fuel cells take over the high end part.


If electric vehicles take off in the market place, once people realize they can charge cheaply at home nearly no one will want to spend any amount of time fueling up at a "station" of any sort unless they are on a weekend trip. Why pay a premium to top off on your daily commute if you don't have to? I think the 5 minute charge idea is a fallacy with the exception of fueling stations on the edges of towns or out in the middle of highways...most driving is done daily to and from work and should be done well within the range of your vehicle. There are fewer "road warriors" out there than typical workers who go to an office building/factory/retail outlet. If you are a "road warrior" and your job entails driving 100+ miles a day (travelling from customer to customer) don't bother with a purely electric vehicle.


Good point Patrick, I think these fast recharge stations would be better situated along highways between cities. But there will also be a need for them in cities too, for people that drive more than the range of their BEV every day, eg taxis, couriers, etc. plus the odd person who needs to drive that far for some reason.


ESStor - (or equivalent super caps) could solve quick charge problems for all PHEVs/BEVs, if it ever reaches the market place. Specialized charge stations, with up to 3500 VDC @ 30+ Amps., could transfert 50 KWh of energy to a BEV within a few minutes. Three phase 440 VAC or 660 VAC @ 30+ Amps could also do it, but could take about 3 times longer.

Home chargers could do a decent full charge overnight from standard 220 VAC, 30+ Amps outlet.

Very quick charge stations will be expensive but are NOT required for overnight domestic recharge. Of course, quick charges will always cost more (20+ % ?) to cover the initial charger capital cost + operator's profit.

Eventually, governments will have to apply an e-energy tax or new road tax to replace diminishing revenues from gas taxes. These new taxes wil have to be equivalent to the current $0.18/gal Fed tax + $0.0x/gal State tax.


Quick charging, like others here are saying, is overrated. Personally, if I were to own an EV, I would pretty much always charge it at home. Why bother using any outside charging stations ? Just to let them make money off of you ? The range of 90 miles would be more than enough for me. Marketing people probaby have it right on target saying 60 - 80 percent of consumers would say the same.

Electric technology is still new. No one said it has to have the entire market on day one. Pretty much everybody is experimenting with batteries and charging these days. Quick charging will be there. For the moment decent range, reliability and low cost will make this technology a success.



You WILL need fast charging capabilities because people do make the occasional long trip and want a car that is fit for all purposes like they are used to now. When buying a car, people always lean towards the safe side, buying a car that offers more than they usually need. Just in case. They will want a car that can be used on longer trips, even if they hardly ever make one. The fast charging option is essential. Just in case.

Slow charging at home, work and shopping center. Fast charging at the gas station. That's how the picture will look.


"Eventually, governments will have to apply an e-energy tax or new road tax to replace diminishing revenues from gas taxes."

I was thinking about this and I think the best solution would be a 40% tax on junk food. This would have the added benefit of improving people's health by discouraging unhealthy eating (thereby reducing costs to the medical system). Now..... if only we could get past the Junk Food Lobby once electric cars destroy the Big Oil Lobby.



What you state is what people believe/feel right now due to being trained to behave in such a manner with the current vehicles. If electric vehicles gain a reasonable market share, such thinking will start to fade away. Yes, you may still need some quick charge stations and they will no doubt be in remote locations where they can get away with the additional charges for profit, but I believe such installations within a city/town setting will not succeed. Gas stations, which ARE necessary, already subsist on their corner store sales or vehicle services and they only compete against eachother. To have to compete against the electric company rates...all it takes is an easy and accessible method for people to charge their vehicle (just imagine if there were a very large and durable "inductive charging pad" in your garage that you park on top of - no plugs necessary, all the programming taken care of, just park and forget all about it).


Some "relatively fast" charge would be nice scattered about the city with fast chargers on highways at rest areas. Other prime real estate for charging would be about 75 miles from urban hubs on secondary roads.

Where I am, there are places I'd want to go that lie within the range of the C30 but I'd need a charge to get back. If there were at least "relatively fast" charging available at such places, that'd make life easier. I don't mind renting for trips over 200 miles but for a little over 100 miles, I'd rather not.

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