Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Volvo Recharge

Another major manufacturer is unveiling their PHEV at a car show. This time, it's Volvo. Here's the story from

"Volvo Cars is introducing the Volvo ReCharge Concept, a plug-in hybrid with individual electric wheel motors and batteries that can be recharged via a regular electrical outlet for maximum environmental benefit.
Recharging allows the car to be driven about 100 kilometres on battery power alone before the car's four-cylinder Flexifuel engine is needed to power the car and recharge the battery.

Volvo ReCharge Concept makes its debut in a specially designed Volvo C30 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. (watch video)

An electric motor at each wheel

The Volvo Recharge Concept combines a number of the latest technological innovations into a so-called "series hybrid" where there is no mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels. (clip)

The battery pack integrated into the luggage compartment uses lithium-polymer battery technology. The batteries are intended to have a useful life beyond that of the car itself.
Four electric motors, one at each wheel, provide independent traction power.

Four-cylinder 1.6-litre Flexifuel engine drives an advanced generator that efficiently powers the wheel motors when the battery is depleted. clip

With an individual electric motor at each wheel, weight distribution as well as mechanical efficiency and traction are maximized. The friction in mechanical gears is eliminated. Since the car does not have the transmission found in ordinary cars, there is no need for a gear lever.

To help maximize the environmental benefits, the Volvo ReCharge Concept has high-efficiency tyres developed by Michelin. They are specially designed to accommodate the wheelmotors.
Further more, the car has All Wheel Drive in the truest sense of the term. Power to each wheel is controlled individually.

The energy that is generated during braking is transmitted to the battery pack. When the system is ultimately developed, traditional wheel brakes will be completely replaced by electrical brakes with minimal energy wasted through friction. (more)

"There is a considerable difference between our plug-in hybrid and today's hybrids. Today's hybrids use the battery only for short periods to assist the combustion engine. Our solution is designed for most people to run on electric power all the time, while providing the extra security that comes with having a combustion engine as a secondary source of electrical power," says Ichiro Sugioka, project manager for the Volvo ReCharge Concept.

He adds: "What is more, our C30 with plug-in hybrid technology retains its lively and sporty driving properties. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes 9 seconds and top speed is 160 km/h."

The Volvo Recharge, like the Volt, is a series platform car. Unlike the Volt, Volvo has not announced any plans to produce the car.

Meanwhile Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. announced it will cooperate with France's state-owned power supplier EDF in testing "plug-in" hybrid vehicles.

In the two-year test from this autumn, four plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid models will be tested on public roads with the use of recharging facilities around this French capital, to examine the usability of recharging and billing systems of the vehicles.

After tests in other European countries, Toyota plans to decide when to launch plug-in hybrid vehicles, company officials said.

In other developments, Google announced its RFP for plug-ins and other green transportation advancements.



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