|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