Almost all the cars that had its debut in the Frankfurt Auto show goes with its focus of Green car technology: low-emission diesels, fresh hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cells. The Volvo Recharge concept vehicle is one clear icon. The Recharge is built with a battery that can be recharged in a common electrical outlet to promote maximum environmental benefit. Only that, this battery can only run a maximum of 100 meters and then shifted to the four-cylinder Flexiful engine. "A certain proportion of electrical vehicles will be necessary to meet the CO2 emission demands of the future. Since the Volvo ReCharge Concept combines an excellent battery range with a backup combustion engine, it is a very interesting concept," says Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo Cars.
The Recharge is product of a combination of a number of the latest technological innovations called "series hybrid" making no mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels. The battery pack is a lithium-polymer battery. When the battery runs dry, the four-cylinder 1.6 liter engine powers up.
The hybrid system is also backed up by an efficient generator, the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). It comes in when the battery runs short of power for the drive.
The driver controls the four-cylinder Flexifuel engine manually by means of a button in the instrument panel. It allows the driver to start the engine earlier to prolong the life of the battery. The internal combustion engine starts if 70 percent of the battery power had already been used up.
"There is a considerable difference between our plug-in hybrid and today's hybrids. Today's hybrids use the battery only for short periods to assist the combustion engine. Our solution is designed for most people to run on electric power all the time, while providing the extra security that comes with having a combustion engine as a secondary source of electrical power," says Ichiro Sugioka, project manager for the Volvo ReCharge Concept.
Also according to Sugioka, the Volvo ReCharge concept has its lively and sporty driving properties, it accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 9 seconds and can reach the top speed of 160 km/h. Inside, the cabin is equipped with interior auto parts (like auto floor mats) meant to give the passengers a comfortable ride.
"This is a ground-breaking innovation for sustainable transportation. A person driving less than 100 kilometres a day will rarely need to visit a filling station. In the USA, this may apply to almost 80 percent of drivers," says Magnus Jonsson.
The battery can be fully charged within three hours, but a one hour quick charge can already reach 50 km according to Jonsson. "This plug-in hybrid car, when used as intended, should have about 66 percent lower emissions of carbon dioxide compared with the best hybrid cars available on the market today. Emissions may be even lower if most of the electricity in intended markets comes from CO2-friendly sources such as biogas, hydropower and nuclear power," Jonsson added.
About the Author
Evander Klum is a Business Administration graduate who hails from Alabama. He enjoys extreme sports and he is also a car racing fanatic. At present, he works as a marketing manager at an advertising agency in Cleveland.