Andrew English of Popular Mechanics magazine is an envious individual right now.  Not only did he have the chance to test drive the Volvo V70 PHEV (read about it here) he also had the chance to drive the Volvo prototype C30 BEV.

First some background.  The C30 BEV has not been given an official green light by Volvo yet, but we expect that technology from the C30 BEV will make its way into a future Volvo electric vehicle soon.

The vehicle is based on Volvo's four seat, C30 coupe.  It weighs in at 3,300 lbs and is motivated by two 330 pound lithium-ion battery packs supplied by EnerDel.  The batteries reside under the rear seat and down the center tunnel of the vehicle. They crank out 25 kwh of juice and supply power to the electric motor.  The motor outputs 109 hp and 137 lb-ft of torque.  Volvo claims an electric range of 93 miles with a top speed of 81 mph and 6-60 mph in roughly 10 seconds.

On the inside, the C30 display is equipped with gauges that show battery status, charge and discharge rates, and an additional display that shows how much electricity the HVAC, radio, and so on are consuming.  The interior is outfitted with great seats, many amenities and standard features expected of any car.

Under acceleration, the C30 displays as Andrew English states, "Considerable heft as you take off. The front-mounted motor is louder than the V70's, although a dodgy wheel-bearing on the test car added to the overall cacophony. Acceleration is brisk but tails off as the speed increases. Without the planned distribution of the batteries (the test car only had a rear battery), it was difficult to judge the handling at extremes but the coupe felt stable and perfect for the suburban crawl, if not tearing around country roads."

The C30 BEV is in prototype form and as such, problems may appear that would not be consistent with the possible production vehicle.  In closing, English added, "This is a polished effort, which drives well and promises fine handling. The C30EV is an impressive start, but no one really knows what an electric future will look like and how it will work. With that in mind the best we can say is that Volvo's technology is certainly promising."

Volvo is making a concerted effort to provide an EV that keeps up with its major competitors.  Most automakers have an EV slated for release within the next few years and we highly predict that Volvo will follow.  The C30 BEV prototype shows their work and effort and the vehicle is near production ready, we are just awaiting official word from the company.

Source:  Popular Mechanics