Volvo claims that the C30 Electric's ethanol-fueled heater keeps the cabin cozy in cold winter conditions without compromising range. The car's ethanol tank carries 14.5 liters (3.83 gallons) of fuel. However, if you don't want to burn any liquid fuel, it's possible to warm the vehicle's interior with electricity from the battery pack. In electric-heating mode, an immersion unit warms up the coolant in the climate control unit. Air is then blasted at the warmed coolant and directed into the cabin.
Volvo says that the driver can select climate settings based on the length of trip. For example, ethanol is the preferred choice when reserving battery power is a necessity. However, on short jaunts, electricity can be used to heat the cabin. Volvo continues to test its C30 in grueling winter conditions before it arrives in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2012.
The Volvo C30 Electric has been exposed to rough winter conditions in order to ensure that the battery-powered car runs smoothly in temperatures as low as -20° Celsius.
Volvo Cars' requirements on the C30 Electric are just as stringent as on all other Volvo models and the battery-powered car is exposed to the same test regime. On top of this, several new test methods have been developed for the electric vehicles. All in all, over 200 different tests have been performed.
"We must ensure that the C30 Electric performs as intended when driving, parking and charging in a variety of conditions, from normal to very cold or hot. Northern Sweden is the perfect place to do sub-zero temperature testing," says Lennart Stegland, director of Volvo Cars' Special Vehicles.
The Volvo C30 Electric is equipped with three climate systems:
* One supplies the passengers with heating or cooling.
* One cools or warms the battery pack as necessary.
* The electric motor and power electronics are water-cooled.
Bio-ethanol powered heater
The C30 Electric has a innovative solution that makes it possible to get comfortable heating in cold winter conditions without compromising the battery driving range.
Climate control in the passenger compartment takes place via a bio-ethanol powered heater fitted in all cars. The car's ethanol tank can carry 14.5 litres of bio-ethanol.
It is also possible to run the climate unit on electricity from the batteries. In electric mode an immersion heater warms up the coolant in the climate unit.
"The driver can program and control the climate unit to suit the trip. Ethanol is the default mode that is used when the battery capacity is needed for driving extend mobility to its maximum. However, on shorter distances electricity can be used to power the climate system," explains Lennart Stegland.