Volvo plugs its cleaner hybrid at Frankfurt

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Volvo has unveiled a plug-in hybrid promising 66 per cent fewer carbon dioxide emissions than other hybrids on the market at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

The ReCharge Concept is a specially-designed Volvo C30 with individual electric wheel motors and batteries that can be charged by any electrical outlet.

Volvo says the Concept has a battery power range of just over 62 miles (around 100km) on battery power before the car's four-cylinder 1.6 Flexifuel back-up engine kicks in to power the car and recharge the battery. The company also claims the hybrid can accelerate from 0-62mph in nine seconds and can reach 100mph.

Electrical power is distributed to individual motors at each of the car's wheels with an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) generator, which was developed with Hants-based PML Flightlink. The car's designers said this leads to better weight distribution and mechanical efficiency, while the motors maximise traction and eliminate friction in mechanical gears.

When the Concept brakes, generated energy is transmitted to the battery pack, and when the system is fully developed, the traditional wheel brakes will be replaced by electrical ones to minimise energy wasted through friction. drivetrain and braking system operation is ensured by driver inputs, which are fed into a quadruple-redundant electronic control system.

Operating costs are estimated to be 80 per cent lower than a similar petrol-powered car when using battery power alone. For a 90-mile drive starting with a full charge, the car will need less than 2.8 litres of fuel, giving it a fuel economy of 124mpg (1.9 l/100km).

The ReCharge Concept is said to have a battery power range of over 60 miles