Volvo has released its ReCharge concept for the Frankfurt Motor Show, a plug-in hybrid that can be recharged via a conventional electrical outlet.
Developed at Volvo's Monitoring and Concept centre in the US, this concept can be driven for about 100 km on battery power alone before its four-cylinder 1.6-litre Flexifuel engine is required.
A number of innovations have been incorporated into the development of this concept.
The lithium-polumer battery pack is integrated into the luggage compartment and is designed to have a lifespan exceeding that of the car itself.
An electric motor is used at each wheel and power to each wheel is controlled individually. Tyres are by Michelin and have been designed to accommodate the wheels' motors.
The concept uses brake regeneration too, recharging the battery pack when braking.
"A certain proportion of electrical vehicles will be necessary to meet the CO2 emission demands of the future," said Magnus Jonsson, senior vice president for research and development at Volvo Cars.
"This plug-in hybrid car, when used as intended, should have about 66% 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 comes from CO2-friendly sources such as biogas, hydropower and nuclear power," said Jonsson.
"A person driving less than 100 kilometres a day will rarely need to visit a filling station. The only requirement is that the car owner has access to electrical outlets at convenient places, such as at home or at the workplace. A full recharge takes 3 hours. However, even a one-hour quick charge should provide enough charge to drive about 50 kilometres," Jonsson added.
The combustion engine starts up automatically when 70% of the battery power has been used up. However, the driver can manually control the Flexifuel engine by using a button in the instrument panel.
This car will also save costs. When driving on electric power alone, its operating costs are said to be up to 80% lower than that of a comparable petrol-engined car. Fuel consumption is said to vary from 0 to 5.5 l/100 km.
Acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes 9 seconds and top speed is 160 km/h.