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by Brett Davis

Earlier this week Volvo announced it would be showcasing a crash tested version of the Volvo C30 Electric at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The company demonstrated its safety technology associated with the all-electric car and showed how it effectively kept high-voltage systems protected and concealed during a crash.

Electric vehicles and hybrids are prone to presenting obvious electrical hazards in the instance of a car accident. Volvo stresses that keeping these technologies out of harm’s way during an accident is very important. The Volvo C30 Electric conceals critical aspects of the electrical system outside the car’s crumple zone areas so that during a crash, zero or minimal damage is done to the high-voltage components.

Basically, the electric package is split into two separate parts. One part is concealed between the front seats underneath the car, while the other part is placed in the rear underbody section, a location usually dedicated for a petrol tank. Volvo Cars CEO and President, Stefan Jacoby, said at the exhibit,

“We are the first car maker to show the world what a truly safe electric car looks like after a collision with high-speed impact.

“Our tests show it is vital to separate the batteries from the electric car’s crumple zones to make it as safe as a conventional car. This is of utmost importance not only to the people riding in an electric car, but also to, for example, first responders.”

The crash in question was an off-set frontal impact at 64km/h. The battery was fully charged at the time of the crash, and even though the crash was quite violent, the Volvo C30 Electric’s systems remained intact. Like the normal petrol version of the car, the energy of the impact was distributed through and around crumple zones keeping potential occupants and the battery pack away from harm.

During the impact all of the car’s electric fuses were cut automatically in around 50 milliseconds – as soon as an airbag was activated – leaving the car in a relatively safe state with no live power circulating. This is all a part of the C30 Electric’s package, and in this exhibit, it proved it responded very well.

The Volvo C30 Electric specification is as follows:

Electric motor 82 kW
Top speed 130 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 10.5 sec
Batteries Lithium-ion 24 kWh
Charge 230V, 16A, 10A, 6A
Recharging duration 8-10 hours
Range 120-150 km
Battery weight 2 x 140 kg
Weight increase compared with
a standard car
+ 300 kg



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