German auto website, Autobild, is reporting that Volvo is working on a plug-in diesel-electric hybrid with a similar powertrain design to the Chevy Volt concept unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in early January. Like GM's E-Flex platform, the C30 will be driven by electric motors which run off a battery pack with a range of 50 to 60 kilometres. Once the batteries run down, a diesel engine fires up to run a generator which in turn recharges the batteries. Additionally, the C30 will have plug-in capabilities for overnight charging.
Currently under development in Volvo's California development centre, the hybrid C30 is to be presented Autumn this year at the Challenge Bibendum international sustainable mobility event in Shanghai.
Diesel is renowned for its fuel efficiency when running at a constant rate, hence diesel vehicle's great fuel economy on the highway. Utilising a diesel engine as a range-extended for the on-board battery pack should yield exceptional diesel fuel efficiency as well as near-zero emissions for shorter trips which utilise the batteries only.
Analysis: This development appears to encompass all the excitement of the innovative E-Flex plug-in electric platform, matched with the practicality of a highly efficient diesel engine. Plus, while the C30 is still a concept car, it looks closer to production than the radical Volt. Volvo and Ford might steal GM's thunder yet.