Volvo is building several plug-in hybrid prototypes of its V70 station wagon to begin field tests this fall in Europe. The cars are using lithium ion battery packs that will be supplied by Indiana-based Ener1. The 11.3 kWh packs will provide 31 miles of electric driving range through the rear wheels. Once the batteries reach the depletion point, the standard diesel engine at the front takes over. It's not known at this point if the car will use regenerative braking to replenish the battery and provide conventional hybrid operation. If it does, this would be a through-the-road hybrid system similar to the one being developed by Peugeot and branded as HYbrid4. Volvo's intent is to get its plug-in hybrid system into full production by 2012.
While this collaboration with Volvo is good for Ener1, what of the company's other Scandinavian partner, Th!nk? No mention is made of the Norwegian EV maker but there is no reason to believe this project will affect Th!nk one way or the other. Th!nk has plenty of its own financial problems to deal with right now. Ener1's press release is after the jump.