• Nov 17th 2010 at 12:54PM
  • 6
Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby has never been the biggest fan of electric vehicles (EVs), having said in the past that mainstream affordability and widespread readiness are many years away. Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, Jacoby sounded a slightly different tune – for a while.

In a speech to the Motor Press Guild, Jacoby highlighted his company's work on plug-in vehicles. Earlier this year, Jacoby moved from Volkswagen to the top spot at Volvo and has had to adjust to his new home. After all, Volvo is further along the plug-in vehicle path than Volkswagen is. Last month, Volvo said it will offer a limited production run of electrified C30s early next year and a plug-in hybrid diesel in 2012. Compare this to VW's 2013-2014 timeline.

In any case, Jacoby touted the electric C30's zero-emission status, saying, "This car is powered solely by electricity and entirely without exhaust emissions." This is only partly true, because, as far as we know, the electric C30 has an ethanol-burning engine that provides heat to the cabin. We're going to get behind the wheel of one of these vehicles later today, so we'll double-check if anything has changed.

One thing we know has changed is Jacoby's slight softening on his anti-EV stance. Jacoby is still bullish on increased use of diesel engines in the U.S. market, but we wanted to know what convinced him to show his pro-EV side. He replied:
Maybe because I've driven the Volvo prototypes. It's really fun to drive the C30 DRIVe electric. I like also the prototypes which are running on the road already with respect to the plug-in hybrid. This is a car where we are really competitive and we can utilize our knowledge with the electrification, not only for pure electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids, but we will use them also to empower our traditional downsized gasoline engines. So, we are using electrification in various areas. It is an absolutely new field for us, as well. It is necessary for us to start now. It will take quite a lot of time until we see a significant share of electric vehicles in the market, but we have to work on this technology right now in order to gain experience.
The longest journey start with the smallest step... onto an EV's accelerator pedal.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Volvo is probably waiting to see if EVs will catch on before they jump in. In the mean time, they'll have a few conversion prototypes running around just to say they have them. Same for Audi/VW, Daimler, BMW & Honda.

      To be fair, looking at hybrid's penetration of less than 5% globally after 10 years, it's easy to see why they won't bet the farm.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another suit starts to realise the obvious. I'm starting to sound like Dan?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I bet he had an EV grin!
        • 4 Years Ago
        hehe and that is a good thing because I speak the truth
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cool. I hope Volvo can pull it together. I've always liked their cars, but their recent powertrains have been ho-hum.

      Ethanol heating is a damn good idea. Nothing beats a combustible liquid fuel for generating waste heat. It's what they do best. It may not be as environmentally sound, but it could be.. potentially cheaper to heat that way, and would certainly help with the winter range loss issue..
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's nice to know that european automotive executives lack vision and understanding just like our guys.
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