Volvo prepares to launch three different prototypes of range extending electric vehicles (RE-EV) in order to find the best ways of implementing hybrid technology which resembles that found in the Chevy Volt. The company plans to start testing the vehicles at the beginning of 2012.
“Battery cost and size mean that all-electric cars still have a relatively limited operating range. With the range extender, the electric car has its effective range increased by 1000 kilometres Ã¢â‚¬â€œ yet with carbon dioxide emissions below or way below 50 g/km,” said Derek Crabb, Volvo Car Corporation vice president powertrain engineering.
Known as Technical Concepts I, II and III, the three RE-EV concepts all incorporate an electric front-wheel drive system and a three-cylinder petrol (also E85 ethanol compatible) engine.
Now let’s find out more about each concept separately. The Technical Concept I is based on Volvo’s C30 model with a series-connected range extender. It also has a 45 kW petrol engine, located beneath the boot, and a 40-liter fuel tank. The engine is connected to a 40kW generator that can either charge the vehicle’s battery or drive the vehicle’s 82 kW electric motor. The car’s range is said to be around 1100 kilometers.
Unlike the first one, Technical Concept II or Volvo C30 is a little bit more different, having a parallel-connected range extender. In this case, the vehicle’s combustion engine is capable of producing 140kW of power. Just like the first concept, the engine has been connected to a 40 kW generator which helps in charging the car’s battery. The car is able to reach a top speed of 100km/h in less than six seconds.
The Technical Concept III also has a parallel connected range extender. Its entire drive package, including the 82kW electric motor, 40kW generator, 140kW turbocharged combustion engine and a two-stage automatic transmission, are placed under the bonnet of the car. At speeds less than 50km/h, the EV concept is powered solely by the electric motor.