As green as electric vehicles (EV) are, the fact of the matter is that the range they can cover is not quite up to par with gasoline powered vehicles, which is why Volvo has decided to produce a few electric test vehicles with range extenders through the use of combustion engines, which essentially turns them into hybrids. However unlike hybrids, the combustion engine will mainly be used for starting up and to generate electricity, which in turn will be used to recharge the vehicle’s battery.
Volvo will be testing out three different combinations, with all three involving the installation of a three-cylinder combustion engine that can run on both petrol and ethanol (E85), and will complement the electric motor that powers the front wheels of the car. Volvo claims that all three concepts will be able to increase the vehicles’ range by up to 1,000km (621miles).
The first concept is based on the Volvo C30, and sees a three-cylinder 60 horsepower (45 kW) combustion engine installed under the rear boot. The combustion engine is then connected to a 40 kW generator with the power generated primarily used to drive the car’s 111 horsepower (82 kW) electric motor or to charge the battery pack. Volvo claims the battery will provide a range of 110km (68miles)
The second concept sees the Volvo C30 with a 190 horsepower turbocharged engine which primarily drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, but at the same time it also drives a 40-kilowatt generator that charges the battery. Volvo claims that the car should be able to pull off zero to 100kmph (62.1mph) in less than six seconds, which means that Volvo had to sacrifice a larger battery for a smaller one, with this one having a range of 75km (46miles).
The third concept uses the hybrid V60, with the electric motor driving the car at speeds below 50kmph (31mph). Anything beyond that relies on the combustion engine which in turn will help to charge the battery via a 40 kW generator. Volvo is claiming that the battery in this concept will be good for 50km (31miles).
As it stands, these are just merely concepts which means there is no guarantee that we will be seeing any of these cars put into mass production, although Volvo will begin testing of the vehicles next year.
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