Volvo is joining the growing number of car manufacturers taking a cautious approach to introducing fully electric vehicles. The Swedish firm will put 50 of its plug-in C30s into public trials to gather 'valuable field data' on usage.
What's all the fuss about?
At the start of the decade the idea of fully electric cars from mainstream manufacturers being viable transport for the public was pie-in-the-sky. That's no longer the case, Volvo along with many other firms releasing electric cars to the masses for testing in the real-world. Selected users will use the electrically powered C30s in the trial. Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles said: "Our test fleet data will be valuable in Volvo Cars' development of electric cars. It will also provide crucial input for the infrastructure planners and help define which services are needed to make rechargeable cars the most attractive choice in the future."
What makes it so green?
It's electric, so, as long as its batteries have been charged in a carbon neutral way, then the C30 electric will produce zero emissions. It'll drive round 150km (93 miles) on a full charge - or more than enough for the typical commute to and from the office: Volvo claims that range covers the needs of about 90 percent of all motorists in Europe. Its 111bhp electric motor allows it to reach 62mph in less than 11 seconds, it looks exactly like its regular C30 relatives and unsurprisingly offers the same level of crash protection - this is a Volvo after all.
When can I buy one?
It's going to be a while in all honesty. Volvo, like others, is dipping its toe in the water for the time being. It is the first step to production reality though, so it is not unreasonable to think that entirely electrically powered Volvos will be in the showroom for general sale within the next 5-10 years. The company is already pledging to have plug-in hybrids in its retailers by 2012.