Some of us that grew up in more frigid climates may remember plugging in the extension cord into the Volvo to keep it warm at night so it would start in the morning. Not so with the Volvo C30 Recharge Concept. This plug-in hybrid car takes a holistic approach to alternative energy and uses electricity to power the wheels.
The batteries alone can propel the Recharge to a range of 62 miles. As the batteries wane, the Flexifuel engine kicks on to create more juice for the wheel-mounted electric motors. The engine can be manufactured to run on a variety of existing or future biofuels, but does not power the wheels directly. The Recharge is a "series hybrid". The combustion engine is used as an electricity generator, similar to the arrangement in a speeding locomotive. Emissions can be tightly controlled as the combustion engine runs only at peak efficiency.
The Recharge can be configured to suit the energy needs of different parts of the world. An electric car producing no emissions itself doesn't make much sense from an energy standpoint if the electricity to power the car is produced by burning a great deal of fossil fuels - such as coal. The Recharge addresses these issues with flexibility in engineering. There are already three different biofuel engines in the works. Delivery of the first Flexifuel plug-in hybrids is expected in European markets soon. The technology is destined for the entire the Volvo fleet.