Göteborg, Sweden – Volvo has announced that it will market a plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2012 and is currently working on evaluating the viability of an entirely battery electric vehicle (BEV), based on the Volvo C30.

The company has produced a small number of prototype C30 BEVs for internal testing. In addition to focusing on performance and safety, the company is working on integration of the electric propulsion system with the rest of the car.

“The Volvo C30 is the first model we will try out with electric power,” said Lennart Stegland, director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles. “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.”

The C30 BEV is powered by a lithium-ion battery that is charged via a regular home power socket. Recharging on a 230-volt system will take about eight hours. The battery will have to have a higher capacity than that of a plug-in hybrid, and placement will probably be in the prop shaft tunnel and in the fuel tank’s regular location, since these are within the car’s optimized crumple zone in the most common collision scenarios.

The car will have a top speed limited to about 130 km/h, with acceleration from zero to 100 km/h taking less than 11 seconds, and with a range of up to 150 km/h, which Volvo said is longer than the distance 90 per cent of all Europe’s motorists drive per day. 

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