What is it? Being on the verge of new ownership hasn't stopped Volvo from joining the ranks of manufacturers putting small quantities of all-electric vehicles into consumers' hands for testing.
Starting in 2011 Volvo will make at least 50 all-electric versions of its small C30 available to select users. These drivers will have the cars for two years in order to provide real-world feedback to Volvo, much like Mini is doing with the Cooper E.
The show car is powered by lithium-ion batteries, which take eight hours to fully charge. Like other fully electric vehicles, the C30 can be charged using a regular household power socket or special roadside charging stations. The batteries are packaged where the fuel tank would reside in a conventional C30. Volvo says the pack is outside the passenger compartment, away from impact areas, and the surrounding structure has been reinforced.
Volvo claims a 0-60 mph run takes less than 11 seconds, and the vehicle's top speed is 81 mph. Range for the car is up to 94 miles, which, according to Volvo, covers the needs of 90 percent of all motorists in Europe on a daily basis.
The interior features gauges and instruments that differ from those in the conventional C30, including basic road speed and energy consumption indicators.
What is new or notable? The project is partly financed by the Swedish Energy Agency.
When will it be available? 2011 in Europe.