GM's Volvo's New PHEV Concept: ReCharge
- 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 Corporations think-tank in Camarillo, California.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Felix Kramer fkramer@...
Founder California Cars Initiative
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --