Volvo officially announces Swedish plug-in hybrid development program

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The Volvo ReCharge concept is kind of the dark horse in the plug-in hybrid race among the major manufacturers. It's a good looking with nice specifications (60+ miles of EV range sure sound appealing), but Volvo isn't totally committed to bringing this vehicle to the street. This may change with today's official announcement that gives more details on the partnership we first heard about in December between Volvo, Saab, electricity provider Vattenfall, battery provider ETC, and the Swedish state. Volvo's investment in the project will be over 11 billion SEK ($1.8b US) for the next five years. You can read the announcement after the jump and check out pictures of the ReCharge in the gallery below.

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Press Release:

Volvo Car Corporation launches unique cooperation for the development of plug-in hybrid cars in Sweden

Together with electricity provider Vattenfall, Saab Automobile, ETC and the Swedish state, Volvo Car Corporation is launching a joint broad-based research venture to develop spearhead technology in the area of plug-in hybrid cars. Sweden will be the arena for the field tests.

"I see this project as a positive further development of sustainable personal transport. We have a unique opportunity to take the lead when it comes to innovations for advanced green-car technology", says Fredrik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.

The aim of the project, which is being carried out jointly by Volvo Car Corporation, Saab Automobile, Vattenfall and ETC, is to develop and demonstrate the next-generation hybrid cars. A fleet of 10 plug-in hybrids will be produced that can be recharged directly from the mains wall socket.

Volvo has long experience of cooperation with a variety of society's actors and with this project the company aims to participate in and shape decisions and initiatives that are taken both within and outside the car industry.

"We want to be involved in setting up the rules for the future and to help build up broad-based competence in Sweden in this vital area," says Fredrik Arp.

Over a five-year period, Volvo Cars will invest just over 11 billion SEK in development aimed at reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Volvo already offers its customers one of the industry's widest ranges of Flexifuel engines. In parallel the company is continuing to enhance the efficiency of its petrol- and diesel-powered cars. 2008 will see the launch of car models that release less than 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

Volvo Cars is also focusing intensively on hybrid technology. In the medium term the company will introduce hybrid variants where an electric motor supports the combustion engine. In the longer term, plug-in hybrids will be introduced. One example of this was presented in autumn 2007 with the Volvo C30 ReCharge Concept. Used in the most effective way, this concept car cuts emissions of carbon dioxide by about 65 percent compared with the hybrid cars available on the market today. And if the electricity comes from CO2-sustainable sources such as hydropower and windpower, this figure improves still further.

"Within the next decade, we will see more electric vehicles on our roads," says Fredrik Arp.

[Source: Volvo]

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