A Volvo that can be fuelled with
electricity from a standard wall socket will be a reality in 2012.
Swedish energy company Vattenfall and the Volvo Car Corporation are
launching an industrial joint venture partnership to introduce plug-in
hybrids on the market. The ground-breaking technology will considerably
lower the environmental impact from traffic. In addition, owning a
plug-in hybrid vehicle will be convenient since you can fuel up at home
and fuel costs are significantly lower.
In January 2007, the Volvo Car
Corporation and Vattenfall launched a joint project with the aim of
testing and developing plug-in technology. Now their cooperation is
being taken to the next level.
"We are investing in an industrial
joint venture to series-produce plug-in hybrid cars in Sweden in 2012,
cars that can be powered by both electricity and diesel. This is an
important business development for us and our partnership with
Vattenfall allows us to take a giant step toward offering our customers
cars with an even smaller environmental footprint," says Stephen Odell,
President and CEO of the Volvo Car Corporation.
Vattenfall and the Volvo Car
Corporation believe that series production of plug-in hybrid cars and
the development of infrastructure can generate new jobs and help Sweden
maintain its position at the cutting edge of advanced pro-environmental
The car can be charged at home
One of the major benefits of plug-in
hybrids is that they can be charged from a regular household wall
"We want to reinforce electricity's
importance in society and its key role in solving climate issues.
Through this cooperation we hope to be able to speed up the introduction
of electric cars. Together we are developing the next-generation
technology based on plug-in cars and various charging alternatives,"
says Lars G Josefsson, President and CEO of Vattenfall.
The development of the cars is being
carried out and financed jointly by the two companies. The Volvo Car
Corporation will manufacture the cars and Vattenfall will develop
charging systems and supply the cars with electricity.
Electricity is very well-suited as a
power source for cars. An electric motor has a high efficiency rating
and consumes roughly one-fifth the energy needed to power an engine that
runs on fossil fuels. The purchase price of the plug-in hybrids will be
higher than that of cars with conventional technology. Batteries are
still expensive but with the car running on electricity, its fuel costs
will be cut to roughly one-third compared with diesel power.
Vattenfall will offer customers the
opportunity to sign an agreement for renewable electricity sourced
specifically from windpower or hydropower, as an alternative to the
regular mix of electricity sources. Lars G Josefsson sees many benefits
from chargeable plug-in hybrids, even in cases where the electricity
does not come from renewable energy sources.
"Through electric power, we avoid the
emissions from each individual car. Instead of petrol or diesel, the
energy is derived from a few large power sources and Vattenfall is
working hard to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from all electricity
production. In Sweden, virtually all Vattenfall's electricity production
is emission-free," explains Lars G Josefsson.
The plug-in hybrid cars will be driven
by a powerful electric motor fuelled by a lithium-ion battery. The
battery takes about five hours to charge from a standard wall socket,
and the battery is also charged every time the car's brakes are applied.
"Most car journeys are short trips, for
instance to and from work. We will be able to offer a product that
fulfils this transportation need. In order to cover longer distances as
well, the car will also be equipped with one of Volvo's fuel-efficient
diesel engines," says Stephen Odell.
Demonstration cars on show this
In the summer of 2009, three Volvo V70
demonstration cars will be presented. The demonstration cars will be
used to gather information about the wishes and demands that drivers may
have on the new technology, to determine their driving habits and to
establish how they want to charge their cars. Vattenfall will, among
other things, test various concepts for high-speed home charging and
also for charging stations in public places, where owners pay to fuel
with electricity instead of petrol or diesel. The cars that are planned
to go into series production in 2012 will feature somewhat different
technology, but the launch of the demonstration vehicles is a step
towards series-producing plug-in hybrid cars specifically tailored to