Volvo's C30 - Electric Vehicle (EV)
Volvo is readying electric C30s. The C30, long a stalwart of the Swedish automaker's highly-respected range of solidly-engineered and beautifully-made cars, is to be joined by an all-electric brother.
It doesn't require Nobel-Prize levels of brain power to recognise that the last thing Volvo needs when it finally offers electric vehicles to the public is for its customers to be stranded in sub-zero temperatures because their electric vehicle's battery pooped out.
Volvo's C30 EV - Testing Programme
Volvo announced recently that it will roll out a testing programme involving 400 Volvo C30 Electrics. Winter testing is always a major part of any car maker's research and development programmes but for Volvo, winter testing is considered the foundation of its vehicles' abilities.
Electric batteries are notorious for losing power in extremely cold weather. Volvo's home country of Sweden sees extremely cold winter weather.
Volvo's C30 EV - Rigorous winter weather testing
Therefore, Volvo is implementing a rigorous winter-weather testing programme that will test both the car's ability to maintain reliability in the snow, ice and freezing cold, as well as the sophisticated climate-control system's effectiveness in keeping the C30 Electric's occupants toasty warm.
Volvo's C30 EV - Climate control
Volvo says the C30 Electric comes with three separate climate control systems. The main system is easy enough to understand: it provides hot or cold air to maintain the comfort of occupants.
The second climate control system maintains the temperature of the vehicle's battery pack. The third system runs the water cooling system used to make sure the electric motor and associated electronics don't get too hot.
Volvo's C30 EV - Heater run on ethanol
The C30 Electric comes with a special heater that runs on ethanol. By using this alcohol fuel, the heater can maintain heating for the cabin without reducing the C30 Electric's range. The ethanol heating system uses a tank that can hold 14.5 litres of ethanol fuel.
Volvo's C30 EV - Heater run from battery
The C30 Electric does, however, have the option to provide heating using power from the car's battery pack. When used this way, the system powers an immersion unit that then heats up the main climate control system's coolant. A fan then expels heated air around the cabin.
Volvo's C30 EV - Sophisticated climate control
The C30 Electric also comes with a sophisticated climate control system that calculates the ideal climate control settings based on how long your trip is expected to be. For longer trips, the system will use ethanol to heat the cabin while maximising range. On shorter trips, battery charge can be sacrificed to provide heating with the electric heating system.
Volvo's C30 EV- Available next year
The C30 Electric is still undergoing typically challenging tests in harsh winter conditions. Once it has passed all testing, the first Volvo C30 Electrics should show up in the USA early next year. With Europe and the UK following.
Assuming the C30 Electric makes it into the US market as scheduled, it will have enjoyed an impressively fast journey from prototype to street. Volvo displayed the first prototype, known as the C30 DRIVe Electric, late in 2009.
The specifications of the final production Volvo C30 EV will have to wait until the car is ready for production but they should be impressive. Recent prototypes have been shown to the public, accompanied by realistic-sounding numbers.
Volvo's C30 EV - Performance
Using a lithium-ion battery pack produced by EnerDel of the USA, the Volvo C30 EV should be able to hit a top speed of at least 80mph while cracking the 0-60mph sprint in around 10 seconds. The car should have a range approaching 100 miles, making it a worthy competitor to other electric cars available on the market.