2009 Volvo V70

2009 Volvo V70

In a press release issued earlier today, American lithium-ion battery maker, Ener1, announced that their products would be tested in two Volvo V70 plug-in hybrid wagons this fall in Europe. The tests are in preparation for Volvo's plans to launch a production plug-in vehicle in 2012. Volvo is collaborating with European electric company, Vattenfall on the project.

On a full charge, the V70s can go 31 miles in all-electric mode before a diesel engine kicks in when the electricity runs out. The vehicles can be charged at standard household outlets, but there's no word on how long a full charge will take.

"These cars and the battery systems constitute a tremendous engineering achievement and a major step forward in the commercial evolution of electric drivetrain technology," said Ener1 CEO Charles Gassenheimer. "Volvo is every bit as demanding as you would expect. They approached this program with the same relentless passion for safety, quality and reliability that made them famous. You can't ask for a better performance measure than that."

Volvo hopes to collect data on how plug-in hybrid powertrains and batteries will hold up over a wide variety of driving habits, climates and expectations to ensure that future production vehicles will be reliable and desirable.

"Efficient, durable high-performance batteries are a vital element in plug-in hybrid and electric drive vehicles. They have to work year-in, year-out under harsh conditions and extreme temperatures, which means engineering and design are absolutely critical," said Anders Bjornberg, Hybrid Vehicle Specialist at Volvo Cars Hybrid Centre.

On the infrastructure side, Vattenfall plans to test the viability of high-speed home charging methods and public charge points. The joint venture with Volvo began in 2007 and both companies say that they'll be working together now more than ever before.

Source: PR Newswire