Volvo Recharge Built for The Future

Volvo Recharge
by Ross Bonander

The Volvo ReCharge is a concept car built into a specially designed Volvo C30 and it had its premiere in the fall of 2007 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Volvo Recharge is a series hybrid, meaning there is no actual connection between engine and wheels (the Chevy Volt is also considered a series hybrid). With the aide of British electromagnetic specialists PML Flightlink, Volvo has put together a dynamite powertrain that offers enough mileage on the battery alone to make the gas engine little more than a security blanket—the perfect means of weaning us all off of gasoline and other fossil fuels.

Specs

  • Type: Plug-in series hybrid
  • Class: Hatchback
  • Manufacturer: Volvo Car Corporation
  • Propulsion system: Four in-wheel electric motors, 4-cylinder 1.6 litre. Flex-fuel engine
  • Top Speed: 100 mph
  • Zero-to-62: 9 seconds
  • MPG: 124 mpg (1.9 l/100km)
  • Vehicle range: Battery 62 miles
  • Fuel(s): Electricity, gasoline, E85
  • Battery pack: lithium-polymer (full recharge: 3 hours)
  • Tailpipe emissions: Yes

The Manufacturer says …

"Today's hybrids use the battery only for short periods to assist the combustion engine. Our solution [the Volvo Recharge] 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."

The Critics Say...

"The Volvo Recharge is expected (by company figures) to produce 66% less CO2 emissions than the standard hybrid. Let's get this concept on the production line!"—treehugger.com

What We Like

The Auxiliary Power Unit. The APU is extremely powerful and with a tweak or two could probably serve as a home’s backup electricity generator in the event of a power failure.

The in-wheel motors. True all-wheel drive is great, but motors in the wheels are more efficient than a single central motor.

The battery potential. Earning 62 miles per charge, the owner could conceivably avoid gas stations if his commute was under 20-25 miles.

The fuel efficiency. Specifically the gas engine, which is estimated to make about 43 miles per gallon.

What We Don’t Like

Being a concept car—and not even having a design of its own— the Volvo Recharge is far too early for dislikes.

Conclusion

The successful premiere of the Volvo ReCharge might be responsible for kicking their plug-in program into high gear. The company recently laid out some plans to put a few plug-ins into the Swedish government fleet, but it is unlikely that these vehicles will possess much of the technology or specs found in the ReCharge.

Nonetheless, with the Volvo Recharge, the company has grasped the true value of the plug-in for the wary, gasoline-dependent consumer: a rechargeable, functional electric car with a solid range that features a ‘token’ gas engine. Why? Not so much to extend its range, but to ease our transition off gasoline and towards alternative fuels such as electricity.

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