Last week, Volvo announced an agreement to demonstrate the C30 Electric in Shanghai, China. The Volvo C30 Electric has been on the roads in Europe for testing. Slowly, but surely, Volvo has begun dabbling in the electric car market. The Swedish auto manufacturer known for its safety will build 400 prototype models that will be available on a 3-year lease, starting next year.
Volvo has had an electric vehicle in the works for a couple years now. In September of 2009, they first showed their prototype for an electric C30, and later presented an updated prototype at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. Later in 2010, the concept car was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show.
Using a lithium-ion battery and 82kW motor, the electric C30 gets a top speed of about 81mph and can go from 0 to 60mph in about 12 seconds. It has a range of up to 100 miles per charge.
Reviews of the Volvo C30 Electric seem promising. Last spring, Engadget’s Tim Stevens had many positive things to say during his test drive of the Volvo C30 Electric, and considers it to be “one of the few genuinely good looking electric cars.” According to Stevens, the C30 electric drives just like the non-electric, and the quiet environment makes for a pleasant drive.
A unique aspect that the review focuses on is the climate control system. It certainly sounds attractive: apparently there is an ethanol based heater under the dash that will warm the car up in three minutes, without requiring the engine to be warmed up. This is a great innovation for electric cars because it means the car can be warmed without drawing off the electricity from the battery, so more power can be used for driving.
Unfortunately for interested Volvo fans, the prototypes are mainly meant for corporations and government fleet users to lease, and not really for individual fans. This is reflected in the price of about $2,100 per month. Volvo is apparently working on a model that will hopefully be more marketable to individual users, which will be revealed next year. This model is expected to be more competitive with the Nissan Leaf.