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Volvo researches plug-in hybrid cars

Volvo is launching a research venture to develop plug-in hybrid car technology in Sweden.

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. The company claims that its Volvo C30 ReCharge Concept cuts emissions of carbon dioxide by about 65 percent compared with the hybrid cars available on the market today.

Over a five-year period, Volvo will invest over 11 billion SEK in development aimed at reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

As well as plug-in hybrids, Volvo is also focusing on more conventional hybrid technology. The company says it will introduce hybrids where an electric motor supports the combustion engine before introducing plug-in hybrids.

The company also says that 2008 will see the launch of car models that release less than 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, as it improves the efficiency of its petrol and diesel powered cars. Volvo also has a range of Flexifuel engines, although there is little awareness of this amongst motorists.

With its plug-in hybrid project, Volvo says it aims to participate in and shape decisions and initiatives that are taken both within and outside the car industry.

“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. “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. Within the next decade, electric vehicles are going to be needed if we are to meet forthcoming CO2 legislation.”