Volvo ReCharge Will Base Research Plug-In Hybrids

Volvo And Saab Are Partners

Plug-in hybrid cars are being pointed out as the next step toward sustainable mobility and Volvo has already made a significant breakthrough with the Recharge, a C30-based vehicle that uses one electric engine in each wheel. This sort of technical arrangement will very likely be the one most cars in the future will use, since it presents many advantages: it frees space for luggage and passengers, since the engine compartment is not used and it eliminates the need of a steering system (turns are made by rotation differences among the wheels). Volvo and Saab have also announced a cooperation agreement, along with Vattenfall (Swedish electricity provider), ETC (Swedish batteries and fuel cells company) and the Swedish State, to develop plug-in hybrid vehicles. The news linking these two facts is that ten vehicles will be build to test the technology and there is one already on driving tests. Guess which one? The video will tell you, in case you have any doubts left.

The Recharge will be the base for building these ten cars, more in what relates to its technology than its appearance. Therefore, Saab’s vehicles may even use a different model to evaluate the plug-in hybrid system, such as the still not released 9-1, but we bet it will feature one electric engine in each wheel, each capable of 999 Nm of torque. That’s correct, people: each. The total amount of torque available for these cars will be 3,996 Nm.

Power will depend on the batteries provided by ETC. Nowadays, they are able to deliver 136 cv, with peaks of 204 cv for a few seconds. That limits top speed to 160 km/h, more than enough for most roads all over the world, but few cars would be able to accelerate so fast.

If the car counted only on its batteries, it would be able to maintain this top speed for only 10 minutes or to have an autonomy of 100 km, but this is when the “hybrid” part of the car gets in action. When battery charge is low, a 1.6-litre bioflex combustion engine starts to generate electricity. With this engine, the car can maintain 160 km/h for as long as there is fuel in the tanks or can run for about 680 km, if you add the 100 km the batteries can provide.

Since there are no mechanical links between components, all parts can be easily changed, such as the engine, which can be much smaller. At the same time it is an advantage, it is also the main challenge Volvo and Saab will have to face. After all, proving “by wire” systems safe, mainly brakes, may take a little more time than researchers would like to admit.
Source: Volvo
Published Mar 16th, 2008 3:40pm By Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
Volvo Car Corporation launches unique cooperation for the development of plug-in hybrid cars in Sweden

Together with electricity provider Vattenfall, Saab Automobile, ETC and the Swedish state, Volvo Car Corporation is launching a joint broad-based research venture to develop spearhead technology in the area of plug-in hybrid cars. Sweden will be the arena for the field tests.

"I see this project as a positive further development of sustainable personal transport. We have a unique opportunity to take the lead when it comes to innovations for advanced green-car technology", says Fredrik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.

The aim of the project, which is being carried out jointly by Volvo Car Corporation, Saab Automobile, Vattenfall and ETC, is to develop and demonstrate the next-generation hybrid cars. A fleet of 10 plug-in hybrids will be produced that can be recharged directly from the mains wall socket.

Volvo has long experience of cooperation with a variety of society's actors and with this project the company aims to participate in and shape decisions and initiatives that are taken both within and outside the car industry.

"We want to be involved in setting up the rules for the future and to help build up broad-based competence in Sweden in this vital area," says Fredrik Arp.

Over a five-year period, Volvo will invest just over 11 billion SEK in development aimed at reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Volvo already offers its customers one of the industry's widest ranges of Flexifuel engines. In parallel the company is continuing to enhance the efficiency of its petrol- and diesel-powered cars. 2008 will see the launch of car models that release less than 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

Volvo is also focusing intensively on hybrid technology. In the medium term the company will introduce hybrid variants where an electric motor supports the combustion engine. In the longer term, plug-in hybrids will be introduced. One example of this was presented in autumn 2007 with the Volvo C30 ReCharge Concept. Used in the most effective way, this concept car cuts emissions of carbon dioxide by about 65 percent compared with the hybrid cars available on the market today. And if the electricity comes from CO2-sustainable sources such as hydropower and windpower, this figure improves still further.

"Within the next decade, electric vehicles are going to be needed if we are to meet forthcoming CO2 legislation," says Fredrik Arp.

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Comments (8)

pole_mccoy pole_mccoy
What a dreadful noise...(listen to it on the video)! Many cars today with a classic internal combustion engine are much more silent that this car! Won't we find a solution to make these electric engine quieter?
Mar 17th, 2008 5:46am
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kengoh kengoh
You guys are forgetting that the transmission of a normal car multiplies the torque of the engine depending on what gear you are in. Multiply the engine torque by gear ratio and the final drive ratio together to get the torque available at the drive wheels.
Mar 17th, 2008 4:56am
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Joe_Limon Joe_Limon
3,996 Nm of torque? thats like 4x the torque of the v12 diesel R8. Won't that rip the tires to shreds? My world has just turned upside down, Volvo and plug in hybrids rule my dreams.
Mar 17th, 2008 4:30am
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radmeister radmeister
Yeah what kengoh said, since these motors are right at the wheels there is no transmission to multiply the torque. You must be thinking ok but what about when they dyno a car that's going through the tranny so it should give you an already multiplied figure. Well the thing is when they dyno a car they do it in the neutral gear, usually 3rd for 5spd and 4th for 6spd trannys. This being run by electrical motors without a tranny and the way an electric motor acts with torque being inversely proportional to RPM by the time this gets to 3rd gear speed like 60-90km/h it will probably have like 300nm combined instead of 3,996 and at 160km/h it would be a really low figure.
Mar 17th, 2008 11:50pm
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Joe_Limon Joe_Limon
if the wheel goes from edge of the tire to edge of the tire at 20", then at a speed of 160kph you get about 840 rpm for the electric motors. Electric motors can spin way faster then this, the 160kph is not limited by the electric motors, its limited by how fast the gas engine can generate electricity. that being said the torque of electric motors don't exponentially decrease with rpms have a look at the tesla's torque curve http://www.teslamotors.com/images/content/motor_torque_curve.gif it maintains most of its torque till just after 8000rpm. However, I think these motors can sustain 999Nm each, but I doubt the battery system could pump out that much power, to the wheels, if you put in some capacitors this car could be a beast. And as to kengoh, yes normal cars need to due that, but normal cars don't have 10x gear ratio's in their transmissions.
Mar 18th, 2008 4:56am
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radmeister radmeister
The Tesla has a 3spd transmission, and there is more than 10x multiplication in transmissions as not only the gear ratios count, there are various changes in diameters along the driver train that affect it too along with the differential. This is from the tesla. 1st 4.20:1 with an overall of 14.3:1, second 2.17:1 with an overall of 7.4:1 as you can see it has another factor of 3.40:1 that is added along the drive train be it at the dif. or just changes between input and output shafts. That aside check out this link for more torque curves http://www.reliance.com/mtr/mtrthrmn.htm it shows the torque curves for the different types of DC motors. You can see that the Tesla has a compound wound motor who knows what this will have as it is a completely different set up.
Mar 18th, 2008 10:25pm
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radmeister radmeister
Yeah 840rpm on a 20" input shaft i doubt the motor will have a 20" rotor. Also i think you made a mathematical error because i got 1671rpm, so depending on the size of the motors diameter wise they could be spinning pretty darn fast.
Mar 18th, 2008 10:34pm
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Joe_Limon Joe_Limon
alright, I will bite, I really don't want to have to caluclate that again, if it was 1671 rpm, that still doesn't change the fact that electric motors can rev many times higher then that. Also, I looked into gear ratio's, and yes I guess they do have greater then 10x, I assumed from one of the statements above that 3rd or 4th gear is usually neutral, meaning 1:1 meant to the wheels, not just from the back of the engine. But back to the car, it's torque is on par with the average car, and its motors can rev say, 4x higher without substantial losses in torque, I would put a 4:1 hub inside the wheels right before the motors, just like they do on dump trucks.
Mar 19th, 2008 10:11pm
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