Building on the package it debuted at Frankfurt in September, Volvo is bringing a second generation of its C30 BEV concept vehicle to Detroit. The upgraded package features both a production-ready interior as well as enhanced battery packaging. According to Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles: "The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges without compromising the C30's cool and fun-to-drive personality. The electric C30 in Detroit is a much more complete product. I am very happy with the result."
Save for some new exterior graphics, the Gen II C30 BEV looks much like a standard C30. However, inside, it gets a new dedicated instrument cluster with a unique graphic treatment that now incorporates a number of EV-specific displays and readouts. As with its predecessor, the newest C30 BEV is fitted with a 111-horsepower electric motor powered by a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack. However, in this iteration, the battery is split into two modules and positioned to improve passenger safety, overall space utilization and vehicle balance. Volvo says it can be fully charged on a 230V/16A line in about eight hours. Projected performance numbers remain unchanged, with this latest C30 BEV iteration still being able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than 11 seconds, reach speeds up to 81 mph and travel about 95 miles on a single charge.
Next chapter in the C30 BEV saga involves building a series of test vehicles that will become part of an extended two-year evaluation program starting in 2010. "Our test fleet data will be valuable in Volvo Cars' development of electric cars, noted Stegland. We need to spend a lot of time verifying a transmission system that is both comfortable and safe for the driver to handle and at the same time utilizes the battery's capacity optimally at different speeds. The experience will also provide crucial input for the infrastructure planners and help define which services are needed to make rechargeable cars the most attractive choice in the future." While nothing has been formally confirmed, Volvo insiders indicate the car will likely move to production status in 2013.