Göteborg, Sweden – Volvo is moving ahead with its electrification strategy by producing extended-range test cars. These electric vehicles are fitted with a combustion engine to increase their effective range.

The company will test various concepts in the first quarter of 2012 in a project supported by the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Union.

“This is an exciting expansion of our increasing focus on electrification,” said Derek Crabb, vice-president of powertrain engineering. “Battery cost and size mean that all-electric cars still have a relatively limited operating range. With the range extender, the electric car has its effective range increased by a thousand kilometres, yet with carbon dioxide emissions below or way below 50 grams per kilometer.”

The company is currently working on three technology combinations with three-cylinder gasoline engines.

Two are based on the Volvo C30 Electric. One uses the combustion engine to drive the car’s electric motor, but the driver can also choose to let the generator charge the battery, increasing the operating range on electricity. A second uses a parallel connection, with a turbocharged engine primarily driving the rear wheels alongside an electric motor, while the third has its drive package under the front hood, with the combustion engine driving the front wheels and recharging the battery pack when needed. The third concept is powered solely by electricity up to 50 km/h.

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