When we saw the Volvo C30 ReCharge Concept last year, we wondered why Volvo wasn't building it straight away. Not only was it based on the gorgeous C30 design, but it was also extremely fuel efficient.
Unfortunately the ReCharge was a one-off concept, not exactly ready for mass production, well, not yet anyway. Thankfully though, the Swedish company has today announced plans to mass produce plug-in hybrid cars.
Working together with Swedish electricity provider Vattenfall, fellow Swede Saab Automobile (which currently has its range of Bio Power cars), the ElectroTechnological Centre and the Swedish government, Volvo is in the process of launching a joint research venture to put Sweden on the map for plug-in hybrid cars.
The Swedes hope the project will demonstrate the next generation of hybrid cars, moving away from traditional Prius-type hybrids and more towards the plug-in while you sleep kind.
Volvo will initially make 10 plug-in hybrids to begin testing the technology in Sweden. The project is expected to take 5 years and cost over $2 billion AUD.
"I see this project as a positive further development of sustainable personal transport. We have a unique opportunity to take the lead when it comes to innovations for advanced green-car technology. We want to be involved in setting up the rules for the future and to help build up broad-based competence in Sweden in this vital area," Fredrik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation said
Yes, five years is a long time, by then the Big T will have its own plug-in hybrids and a new generation of cars running around. In order to compete in the interim, Volvo will sell a new range of hybrid variants similar to the Prius (electric motor + combustion engine without plugin support).
The main benefit of plug-in hybrids is their ability to run on no fuel for a set distance. For example: after a nights charge, you will be able to get around 100-200kms on electricity alone which will most likely cover you for the entire day, meaning you won't use a drop of fuel!
For most of us who don't travel more then 100km a day, having a car which can be recharged every night makes oodles of sense. Besides, plug-in hybrids are expected to put out 65 percent less CO2 emissions than today's hybrid cars!
If you want to get completely carbon neutral, you can get your car charging via hydroelectric power or wind-generated power, resulting in near negligible CO2 emissions.
The future is a green one, let's just hope the cars of tomorrow don't forget the most important thing - the driver experience.