Volvo Car Corporation develops Range Extenders for electric cars - adding 1,000 km extra range

Volvo Car Corporation is now taking the next step in the company's electrification strategy by producing test cars with Range Extenders - electric cars that are fitted with a combustion engine to increase their effective range.

The projects, supported by the Swedish Energy Agency and the EU, encompass three potential technology combinations. Tests of the various concepts will get under way in the first quarter of 2012.

"This is an exciting expansion of our increasing focus on electrification. Battery cost and size mean that all-electric cars still have a relatively limited operating range. With the Range Extender, the electric car has its effective range increased by a thousand kilometres - yet with carbon dioxide emissions below or way below 50 g/km," says Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering at the Volvo Car Corporation.

The company's technological developments in this area currently encompass three different technology combinations, with three-cylinder petrol engines being installed to complement electric drive to the front wheels. All the variants feature brake energy regeneration. The engines can run on both petrol and ethanol (E85).

Two of the solutions are based on the Volvo C30 Electric. In both cases, the standard battery pack has been somewhat reduced in size to make room for the combustion engine and its fuel tank.

CO2-lean driving pleasure and comfort

The series-hybrid Range Extender in the C30 is part of an EU project in which the Volvo Car Corporation is the only car manufacturer among eight partners. The company's two parallel-hybrid Range Extender solutions are being developed with a grant of SEK 10.8 million (EUR 1.2 million) from the Swedish Energy Agency.

"These three projects allow us to evaluate the Range Extender's various possibilities. As with the C30 Electric and V60 Plug-in Hybrid, the goal is to make the cars exceptionally CO2-lean without compromising on customer requirements such as comfort, driving pleasure and practicality," explains Derek Crabb.