Volvo road tests ReCharge plug-in hybrid concept
Volvo showed off its ReCharge plug-in hybrid concept, based on the Volvo C30 model, at last year's Frankfurt auto show. We were skeptical when we saw it because even though it looked cool, Volvo only had a cutaway demonstration model to show off, and the company has no current hybrid cars among its model lineup. But Volvo reports today that it has a working concept on the road as part of a larger program to develop next generation powertrains. Volvo, in a consortium with Saab, the Swedish government, and energy company Vattenfall, announced a five-year plan to develop plug-in hybrids.
The consortium's goal is to produce a fleet of 10 plug-in hybrid cars, using Sweden as a testing field. We are a little underwhelmed by this level of ambition, as there are already companies in the U.S. offering plug-in conversions of existing hybrids. As part of this plan, Volvo announced it will offer a hybrid variant of one or more existing models within five years.
At this time, Volvo isn't saying what type of hybrid technology it will use, but owner Ford already offers a hybrid system similar to Toyota's on its Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. When the ReCharge concept was introduced, Volvo specified lithium-polymer batteries and in-wheel electric motors, with a small flex-fuel generator onboard as a range extender.