• Jun 14th 2011 at 7:54PM
  • 11
The Sweden House is a smart, clean-looking building in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown district that serves as that country's embassy in the United States. On a hot June morning last week, the House opened its doors to Volvo, Sweden's biggest automaker, for a morning seminar titled Innovation Towards Zero that covered the ways the company is trying to further the cause of sustainable mobility in a global market. The short version is as follows: Volvo plans to use a wide variety of fuel-saving methods in its upcoming vehicles because it thinks the focus should be on the end result (lower CO2 emissions) and not on any particular technology. So, while it's clear that plug-ins will play a role for Volvo – and the C30 Electric and V60 Plug-In Hybrid were certainly the vehicles du jour – there's no way Volvo is putting all of its technological eggs into one specific basket.

Even though there is a big push for electrified vehicles across the industry, Volvo does not have a timeline for when all of its models will be electrified, or when something like that would be an option for each model. Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby told AutoblogGreen:
[The technology used] depends very much on the CO2 standards, that's the guiding line, more or less... We should not forget that the traditional internal combustion engine can significantly be improved and the benefits out of this can be made with less investment and complexity. We are [in] a long transition period from fossil fuels towards alternative powertrains and we need to understand that we have to be careful to not invest into the wrong direction.
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To get to a cleaner lifestyle with cleaner vehicles, Volvo sees many parts of peoples' lives working together, similar to the way the Lindell family lived during Volvo's "One Tonne Life" (well, almost) project for six months. This is also how fossil fuels and electricity will work together in Volvo cars in the coming years. The perfect example of this is the V60 Plug-In Hybrid, which Jacoby announced would be coming to America with a gasoline engine.

That doesn't mean that the all-electric C30 Electric isn't a successful project. Jacoby said that the 250 vehicles in the C30 EV test fleet are "more or less sold out." Jacoby acknowledged that the $2,100 per month lease (!) price is, "more than you pay for a conventional car but it is important to understand that we are more or less in the trial and error phase. We want to control and monitor the batteries and that's why we will lease them for the time being." Getting the batteries back at the end of the lease to test them and see how they held up to daily driving is the main reason why Volvo will not offer lessees the chance to buy the cars when the three-year leases are up.

volvo c30 electric

Volvo's Lennart Stegland was on hand as well, and once again was emphasizing Volvo's safety message (see here and here). He said that Volvo has so far "demolished" (i.e., crash tested) 12 C30 Electrics, and that more will be subjected to the process in the future. From the testing done so far, Stegland said that the C30's battery should last 3,000 cycles, or about eight years, and will then have around 80 percent of its starting capacity left, which Stegland said was on target. It is comparable with other battery life estimates from other automakers.

You can watch some video from the Innovation Towards Zero seminar below.

Our travel and lodging for this media event were provided by Volvo.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      "We should not forget that the traditional internal combustion engine can significantly be improved and the benefits out of this can be made with less investment and complexity" Whew, thank god they're taking it easy, I hear those new-fangled e-motors have close to five parts!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is the house assembled with an Allen Wrench?
      • 4 Years Ago
      It seems like Volvo's only strategy to reduce emissions is selling fewer and fewer cars every year.
      • 4 Years Ago
      a regular volvo v60 in UK is nice. but not coming to US?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Marco - You know - Speaking for myself, I really don't care about your views on socialism. "Collapse of the Welfare State"? "Red Chinese"? What are you, some kind of Super Capitalist? No one cares about your political views. Or your aesthetic views either.
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well Nate, obviously you do, or why bother to reply? It's not a matter of being 'super-capitalist', or socialist. Just a simple fact! The formerly Swedish auto-industry has not been able to survive once State support was withdrawn. Nor can I help the reaction of Geely, to Swedish productivity . Likewise, I can't help it if the facts disagree with your political philosophy. "Red Chinese?", er.. the last time I visited the PRC, (9 weeks ago), the PRC was still controlled by the 'Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng' (Communist Party of China) official emblem, the Hammer and Sickle , on a Red Flag? Judging from the responses, there would appear to be quite a few who share my architectural critique!
      • 4 Years Ago
      He's ignoring the real issues of energy independence and peak oil! Volvo may be able to reduce the CO2 produced by their internal combustion engines, but that does nothing to stabilize oil-producing nations or increase the supply of oil.
      Marco Polo
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, the Swedes are becoming more and more irrelevant each year. With the collapse of the much lauded socialist welfare state, Volvo was delighted to allow the Red Chinese to purchase Volvo from Ford. To Volvo's shock they are discovering that once the technology has been transfered to the PRC Parent group, Volvo will be obliged to make profit. (Volvo sold more Ford designed vehicles, but at a loss) Ugly, dysfunctional housing, (no matter how idealistic) and fringe market overpriced EV technology, will not endear Volvo to 'lucky' , and although the PRC government has yet to approve the deal, both Li Shufu Chairman and his CEO Yang , have expressed dissatisfaction with Volvo's workforce and are seeking to move Volvo's manufacturing, to the PRC. 'Lucky's tentacles in EV technology extend to purchasing the technology for EV London Cabs, and the Australian transmission developer, Drivetrain Systems International Pty Ltd. The Hangzhou based Geely, is listed on the Hong Kong Stock exchange and for a manufacturer only 12 years in the Auto business 'Lucky" has made great strides, especially in EV development.
      • 4 Years Ago
      tantareanujellob said it best. so despite all market indicators pointing to EVs as the future of automotive, he's still on the fence and can't make an executive decision to lead his company in the right direction. spreading the R&D budget into a variety of useless projects is a bad idea, especially considering how much they're lagging behind the competition. also his statement about ICE engines having a lot of potential to reduce CO2... then claiming the market is in a long transition AWAY from fossil fuels is self-contradictory. so he KNOWS fossil fuels are being phased out, yet he sees these marginal efficiency gains to ICE as being on the same level as EVs. ICE engines will not make anything close to 50% efficiency gains in the next 10 years, and even if they do, they still need gas. let me spell it out for mr. jacoby: you're a BAD leader. much to the same effect as cameron diaz is a BAD teacher (and actress). you can't have it both ways. pick a technology and make it work for your customers. revisit the 3CC you guys had a long time ago. that car "seemed" promising back then, but seeming to be green and actually delivering green is a decision you have to make now because ppl are tired of waiting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That house is very ugly. Also, how is anyone expected to fit inside such a small house. :)
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 4 Years Ago
      I feel the sincerity. any minute now
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