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Australia to miss out on Volvo EV trials

Charging ahead: Volvo's C30 EV has a claimed battery range of up to 150km.

Volvo baulks at electric C30 launch in Australia due to lack of support for EVs

Volvo logo4 Oct 2010

By RON HAMMERTON

VOLVO’S first all-electric car, the C30 DRIVe Electric, will not be hurried onto the Australian market because of the lack of public infrastructure and incentives compared with other countries.

None of the initial batch of up to 250 Volvo EVs has been earmarked for Australia, instead heading to Europe, China and the United States for fleet testing from early 2011.

Volvo Car Australia spokesperson Laurissa Mirabelli told GoAuto today Australia was not a priority for the C30 DRIVe Electric that was officially launched at the Paris motor show last week.

18 center imageShe said VCA would hold back any release of such technology in this country until Australia was ready for it, in the same way that the company had delayed introducing flex-fuel E85-capable cars until the roll-out of ethanol pumps in Australia.

Until such time, Volvo’s diesel C30 DRIVe – already one of the most efficient cars on the Australian market with fuel consumption of 3.8L/100km and emissions of 99g/km – will continue to fly Volvo’s eco flag in this country.

Unveiling the Volvo C30 DRIVe Electric in Paris, Volvo Cars president and CEO Stefan Jacoby confirmed small-scale production from 2011, adding that Volvo would set the industry standard in electric cars.

“We move into the future with the aspiration to design vehicles with minimised environmental impact, as well as the ambition to produce the world’s safest cars,” he said.

The Swedish car-maker is set to deliver its first 10 electric cars for field tests in the next few months ahead of small-scale production of the C30 DRIVe Electric in early 2011. They will go to Swedish electricity company Göteborg Energi.

About 50 of the battery-powered cars will be rolled out next year for fleet testing in Europe, China and the United States, with an ultimate total of 250 vehicles slated for production.

As well, a plug-in hybrid version also has been confirmed for 2012, promising ultra-low emissions of 50g/km on a mix of electric and diesel power.

The all-electric C30 is said to have a range of up to 150km on a 24kW/h lithium ion battery pack. The battery takes about eight hours to full recharge from a conventional 240-volt power socket.

Acceleration from zero to 100km/h is possible in about 10.5 seconds, while top speed is 130km/h.

Volvo special vehicles division director Lennart Stegland said production could expand beyond the planned 250 vehicles if demand continued at current high levels.

“We have had a very positive response from the market so far,” he said.

Mr Lennart said Volvo believed that between 5 and 10 per cent of cars in Sweden would be electric by 2020, though that figure might be slightly less across Europe.

“Different markets have different preconditions,” he said.

Mr Stegland said the 150km range would satisfy the daily driving requirements of 90 per cent of European commuters and could be used for the average family’s everyday commuting needs.

Volvo is expected to start public sales of full electric vehicles from 2012, alongside the diesel-electric C30 hybrid.

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