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GM's Volvo's New PHEV Concept: ReCharge

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  • Felix Kramer
    Volvo, owned by GM, which continues to say it s moving the entire company to electric transportation, will show a different kind of PHEV at the Frankfurt Auto
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2007
      Volvo, owned by GM, which continues to say it's
      moving the entire company to electric
      transportation, will show a different kind of
      PHEV at the Frankfurt Auto Show, Sept
      13-23 (Europe's largest). Like the E-Flex Chevy
      Volt, this is a series hybrid.

      Notable features for this concept car, developed in Southern California:
      * 100km (62-mile) electric-only range -- 50%
      greater than the already-high Volt.
      * Lithium-polymer batteries, a different
      chemistry than those planned for the Saturn Vue or the Volt.
      * Optional manual control of EV mode, of interest
      especially in Europe, where some city centers are
      open only to zero-emission vehicles. (The DC
      Sprinter delivery vehicle also has this feature.)
      * Promises of wheel motors. Many engineers remain
      skeptical of this often proposed solution because
      the added weight in the wheels ("unsprung mass")
      reduces the driveability of the car. As a concept
      car, it won't resolve that question!
      (Mitsubishi's announced its MIEV concept with
      wheel motors in late 2005 for possible production
      in 2008; it could show up around 2010.)
      * Partner PML Flightlink previously developed a
      prototype PHEV conversion of a BMW Mini (see link at GreenCar Congress).
      * Google's PHEV program, ReChargeIT.org, gets an
      unexpected "plug" from the name.

      In addition to the Green Car Congress story below, the AutoBlogGreen report includes video and a link to the Volvo announcement with more technical information:

      Volvo To Show Flex-Fuel Plug-In Hybrid Concept at Frankfurt
      6 September 2007

      Volvo Cars will introduce the Volvo ReCharge
      Concept, a plug-in series hybrid with a
      grid-rechargeable lithium-polymer battery pack
      and individual electric wheel motors, at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

      Based on a Volvo C30, the ReCharge supports a 100
      km (62 mile) battery-powered range before the
      four-cylinder 1.6-liter flex-fuel engine kicks in
      to power the car and recharge the battery. When
      driving beyond the 100 km battery range, fuel
      consumption may vary from 0 to 5.5 liters per 100
      km (43 mpg US at full liquid fuel consumption)
      depending on the distance driven using the engine.

      For a 150 km (93 mile) drive starting with a full
      charge, the car will require less than 2.8 liters
      of fuel, giving the car an effective fuel economy
      of 1.9 l/100km (124 mpg US for that range).

      The combustion engine starts up automatically
      when the battery pack reaches a 30% state of
      charge. The driver also has the option of
      controlling the four-cylinder Flexifuel engine
      manually via a button in the instrument panel.
      This allows the driver to start the engine
      earlier in order to maximize battery charge, for
      instance when out on the highway in order to save
      battery capacity for driving through the next town.

      A certain proportion of electrical vehicles
      will be necessary to meet the CO2 emission
      demands of the future. Since the Volvo ReCharge
      Concept combines an excellent battery range with
      a backup combustion engine, it is a very interesting concept.

      This plug-in hybrid car, when used as
      intended, should have about 66 percent lower
      emissions of carbon dioxide compared with the
      best hybrid cars available on the market today.
      Emissions may be even lower if most of the
      electricity in intended markets comes from
      CO2-friendly sources such as biogas, hydropower and nuclear power.
      —Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President
      Research and Development at Volvo Cars

      The central electrical components in the Volvo
      ReCharge Concept demonstrator--the engine-powered
      generator and the wheel motors--were developed
      together with British electromagnetic specialists
      PML Flightlink. (Earlier post.)

      With an individual electric motor at each wheel,
      weight distribution as well as mechanical
      efficiency and traction are maximized. The
      friction in mechanical gears is eliminated. Since
      the car does not have the transmission found in
      ordinary cars, there is no need for a gear lever.
      Power to each wheel is controlled individually.
      The ReCharge accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 9
      seconds with a top speed of 160 km/h.

      To help maximize the environmental benefits, the
      Volvo ReCharge Concept has high-efficiency tires
      developed by Michelin that are specially designed
      to accommodate the wheelmotors.

      The energy that is generated during braking is
      transmitted to the battery pack. When the system
      is ultimately developed, traditional wheel brakes
      will be completely replaced by electrical brakes
      with minimal energy wasted through friction.

      To ensure reliable operation of the drivetrain
      and braking system, driver inputs are fed into a
      quadruple-redundant electronic control system.

      A full recharge of the battery pack takes 3
      hours. A one-hour quick charge should provide
      enough charge for a 50 km drive (31 miles), according to Volvo.

      The ReCharge Concept was developed at the Volvo
      Monitoring and Concept Center (VMCC), the Volvo
      Car CorporationÂ’s think-tank in Camarillo, California.

      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
      Felix Kramer fkramer@...
      Founder California Cars Initiative
      -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
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