Volvo C30 electric concept, 2010 Detroit Auto Show

Volvo C30 electric concept, 2010 Detroit Auto Show

Earlier this year we were all excited to hear about Volvo’s offering to the world of electric vehicles - the Volvo C30 EV. 

Debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in January, the S40-based car offered a eight hour recharging time using a 240V, 16A supply, a 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and a range of up to 90 miles per charge. 

But just as we were admiring the C30’s curves and wondering just how soon the Swedish C Segment car would take to reach the marketplace, Volvo announced it had no plans to bring the C30 to the U.S. 

Blaming European Union regulations, Volvo said at the time that it would be pushing all of its efforts into producing plug in hybrid and EV models for the European market.  The current regulations stipulate automakers reduce their overall CO2 emissions across a range by 25%. Producing more electric cars is an easy fix for the Swedish company best known for its stationwagons. 

According to a report from Automotive News Europe (subscription required), Volvo looks eager to change its earlier position. 

As well as detailing its plan to hire Chinese auto designers to make its range more appealing to the Chinese market, Volvo’s Lennart Stegland confirmed in a separate interview with the website that electric cars were heading to the U.S. 

The order-books opened last month in Sweden for Volvo’s 2012 all-electric C30, which will be sold alongside a plug-in hybrid model based on its V70 station wagon. 

For the rest of the world, Volvo plans to roll out test-fleets of the C30 in China, Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.S.

The U.S. test-fleet will be focused in California. There are no more details at present, other than the fleet is expected to be in place by the end of 2011, just in time for the 2012 European launch of the C30. 

While Volvo is now clearly pursuing all-electric vehicle technology it has previously stated that plug-in hybrid vehicles were its “main electrification track” rather than pure electric cars. It is also keenly following the concept of producing a range-extended electric car in which an onboard reformer turns gasoline into hydrogen to power a fuel cell.

Volvo claims its concept of having a gasoline-powered hydrogen reformer powering a fuel cell to produce electricity for an electric drivetrain is more efficient than a straight-forward gasoline-to-electric solution as found in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

[Automotive News Europe (subscription required)]