Volvo conducts extreme cold testing on C30 EV (+video)

March 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo has decided to address one of the biggest concerns for electric cars – how batteries behave in extreme cold weather.

The Sweedish carmaker is currently testing its C30 EV in Kiruna, Sweden (north of the arctic circle) in temperatures of around minus 20 degrees Celsius to see if the car’s batteries can maintain their power in the cold while the car’s heating systems keeps the passengers warm in the cabin. Sounds simple? Well it’s not really.

“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,” says Volvo Cars’ director of special vehicles, Lennart Stegland.

The Volvo C30 EV is a clever machine and comes equipped with three climate systems. The first system heats or cools the battery pack as required to maintain its performance and the car’s range. The electric motor and electronics use a water-cooling system. But it all gets even smarter in the cabin where Volvo has fitted a bio-ethanol heater with a 14.5 litre tank so that the process of heating the cabin doesn’t drain energy from the battery and affect the C30 EV’s range. If there’s a problem the cabin climate system can also be run off the battery through a driver controlled function.

After the testing Volvo is confident that the C30 EV can maintain a driving range of around 80 km even in extreme cold weather conditions.

Check out a video of the Volvo C30 EV cold weather testing below.

Continue reading “Volvo conducts extreme cold testing on C30 EV (+video)” »

Volvo C30 Polestar Performance Concept Prototype

June 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

See the new concept car Volvo C30 Polestar Performance Concept Prototype.

Volvo’s electric C30 to begin road trials

December 21st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo C30 EV fq

This week, Volvo has announced the electric C30, updated to the newer 2010 styling will commence road trials from 2011.

A road-ready prototype of the C30 BEV was unveiled back in September, and now Volvo plans to build 50 of the electric hatches for testing in a programme similar to BMW’s MINI E.

Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles said “The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues.”

The two-year trial will consist of Volvo releasing 50 of its electric C30 hatches to selected users for everyday use. The objective of the test is to study the car’s systems and behavioural characteristics.

Mr Stegland said the tests will help not only Volvo’s engineers, but also city infrastructure planners working to establish the requirements of running electric vehicles.

The electric C30 stores its power in a 24kWh lithium-ion battery mounted in the centre tunnel and where the fuel tank previously lived, giving it a driving range of up to 150km on a single charge.

Recharging the battery takes eight hours using a 230v household outlet. The electric C30 will get to 100km/h in just under 11 seconds and go on to a top speed of around 130km/h.

Volvo refreshes C30 for Frankfurt debut

September 9th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo C30 facelift fq

As expected, Volvo has facelifted its C30 entry-level model, for the 2010 model year. The first official pictures of the refreshed Volvo have just been released ahead of the car’s upcoming debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and, not surprisingly, the updates focus mainly on the front and rear styling and are similar in nature to the modifications made to the C70 hardtop convertible (read news item).

The car has radical new appearance from the front, carving out a distinctive new personality. Fresh elements include a larger Volvo badge, new air intakes similar to those found on the XC60 crossover, and a re-designed grille. Designers have also added an ‘Orange Flame Metallic’ paint scheme, visible exhaust tailpipes on the T5 and D5 models, and two new wheel options.

The engine lineup consists of both gasoline and diesel units and ranges in displacement from a compact 1.6-litre unit to a range topping turbocharged 2.5-litre lump. The most fuel-efficient model is a 1.6-liter turbodiesel with engine stop-start technology. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual gearbox, five-speed automatic or a six-speed Powershift dual-clutch unit.

The updated C30 will be launched later this month and global sales are expected to begin early next year.

Volvo developing hot hatch C30

October 1st, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo C30 fq

Rumours of a Volvo hot hatch are circulating the automotive industry, the word is that the Swedish manufacturer is developing a new 300-horsepower C30 for Europe. According to early reports the new model will use the same 2.5-litre inline-five cylinder turbo engine that powers the new Ford Focus RS. But their will be differences between the two vehicles not least that the Volvo will use the Haldex all-wheel drive system, which will make it far more sure footed than the torque steering Ford.

The Volvo will be fitted out with 20-inch rims and a body kit unique to the go-fast model. To maintain exclusivity Volvo could limit production numbers to 4,500 cars worldwide, we have no idea if any will make it down here to NZ, but if it does it will be the most exciting Volvo we have seen for a long time.

Click here to read a road test of the base model C30

Volvo shows DRIVe C30, S40 and V50

September 10th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo DRIVe logo

Volvo will be unveiling the new economical, sub-120g/km diesel variants of the C30 SportsCoupe, S40 saloon and V50 Sportswagon at the Paris Motor Show in early October. All three models are equipped with a special set of efficiency-enhancing features and marked with the DRIVe emblem to signal their uprated environment properties. Production of these new models will start mid-November 2008. New Zealand release dates have not been established.

The new 1.6D DRIVe models will offer outstanding fuel consumption of 3.66l/100km on the C30 and 3.74l/100km in the S40 and V50, with VED Band B CO2 figures of just 115g/km for the C30 and 118g/km for the S40 and V50.  These new low emissions mean that the Volvo C30 and V50 offer best-in-class CO2 in their segments.

The reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions was brought about by analysing the cars’ total potential for more efficient, more economical driving. The cars were then optimised within four areas:
1. Reduced air resistance:

* Chassis height reduced by approximately 10mm to help reduce drag
* A front spoiler on the S40 and V50 which is the same spoiler currently on T5 models.
* Covered radiator grille. Behind the characteristic Volvo grille there is a wind-deflecting panel that provides better aerodynamics inside the engine compartment.
* Wind deflectors in front of the front wheels to steer the airflow.
* Aerodynamically optimised wheels with a unique ‘Libra’ rim. The diamond cut finish adds to the unique design and the large unobstructed area that goes all the way out to the tyre makes the rim look considerable larger than it actually is. The total drag reduction of 10-15% is due to the design of the Libra rim.
* Underbody panels on the Volvo C30 for more efficient airflow under the car.
* A unique rear spoiler has been developed for the Volvo C30 which adds both to the aerodynamics and to the visual appearance. The Volvo S40 features the same ‘ducktail’ spoiler as found on the current T5 and D5 models.
* New rear bumper on the Volvo C30.
2. Lower rolling resistance:

* All the cars are equipped with a new generation of Michelin tyres with low rolling resistance.
3. Higher ratios:

* Gearbox with altered ratios for third, fourth and fifth gears. The longer gear ratios contribute to a 1.5% reduction in fuel consumption without affecting the drivability of the car.
4. More efficient driveline:

* Optimised engine cooling, engine management and power steering.
* New transmission oil which creates much lower friction will be used in the gearbox.
* Gearchange indicator in the information display to tell the driver the ideal time to change gears.

“Changing the transmission oil gives us a 0.75 percent lower fuel consumption. Tyres with low rolling resistance save another 2 percent. Each of these measures may seem rather modest, but it is important to look at the whole picture. Taken together, all the small adjustments have helped us achieve our aim, with emissions below 120g/km for all three cars, without in any way compromising on either driving properties or comfort, which was an important requirement,” says Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Volvo Cars.
Benefits for the environment and economy

Reducing fuel consumption and dropping below the 120g/km CO2 emission level offers a range of benefits, both for the environment and the buyer’s pocket. With lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, these cars reduce the net contribution to global warming. All new diesel models from Volvo are also fitted with a maintenance-free particle filter that traps about 95 percent of all soot particles.

Volvo Cars expects to sell over 20,000 1.6D DRIVe cars next year in Europe

Volvo C30 S 2.4 2008 Review

August 28th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


The last time I bought something from IKEA I was very disappointed. Not only did the bookshelf for my ever expanding library of car magazines (I tell my fiancee it’s for research) fall apart after a month, it didn’t look cool, which is what I thought smart Swedish design was supposed to do – be both well-constructed and aesthetically pleasing.

Unlike my furniture misadventure, the new Volvo C30 looks like it might be able to deliver on that promise.

The design inspiration for the C30 comes from the classic form of the Volvo P1800 ES, which was a station wagon version of the P1800 coupe. The P1800 coupe was the car that featured in the 1960s TV series The Saint which starred Roger Moore in his pre-Bond days.

Just like the old P1800, the C30 is a very stylish piece of design and takes several cues from the original.

The glass hatch at the back is one such feature, but in this case form rules function. The cargo space itself is not too bad, but the aperture is strangely shaped and makes putting large items in the back a bit ‘square peg in a round hole’. It will fit bags of groceries no worries, but you won’t fit big boxes or other bulky items in. The detachable boot blind in the back helps to reduce the paranoia of theft, but also makes putting tall items in the boot a bit of a pain.

The wide hips of the C30 pay tribute to the fins on the P1800 and give the car a very seductive look.

The side windows also play on the classic P1800 theme but they don’t do rearward visibility any favours, creating quite thick C-pillars that make parking a bit difficult.

These features aside the C30 follows the Volvo corporate look closely with the same front and rear treatments (especially in the lights) as the rest of the Swedish car-maker’s range.

Being a dark grey, the cabin of our base model test car is a little drab but the seats are very comfortable and the ‘floating’ silver centre console adds a spark of colour.

Interior architecture is neat and feels as solid as any Audi or BMW but without the flash.

The pictorial buttons for the climate control system are unique to Volvo and a great idea as well as being very easy to use. These are incorporated with the stereo controls on the floating console which has enough space behind it for wallets and phones.

Overall the interior is well-designed and purposeful with a feeling of solidity that runs right through to the driving experience.

Driving the C30 it feels incredibly stable, dense even, a feeling as unexpected as picking up a small piece of gold and discovering how weighty it is. It is a smallish car but at 1429kg it’s no lightweight, but this weight does play a role in making the car feel planted when driving.

Making your way at speed on patchy back-roads the Volvo is very composed and absorbs bumps with ease, gliding over New Zealand’s typically rough and undulating blacktop almost like a luxury saloon but without the wallow and roll associated with softly sprung large cars.

Push the Volvo into a fast corner and all you will find is a very safe form of understeer to curb your enthusiasm. It is a car that feels superglued to the road, very safe and very composed but not that sporty at all.

The 2.4-litre, 5-cylinder engine is very linear in its delivery and develops moderate power, but never enough to push you back into the seat. It sounds good too, with an off-beat idle that really starts to growl when you push it hard. The automatic transmission is a very smooth bit of gear that shifts firmly and lets you wind the engine to the redline without interfering by changing up early.

The C30 has sporting pretentions, by how it looks and the growly 5-pot, but it doesn’t deliver a proper sporting drive. With this in mind there is a hotter turbocharged T5 version of the C30 that uses the same engine as the Focus XR5 and could be the one to go for if sporty hatches are your thing

At $44,990 for the base S model (as tested), it is not cheap but it is a quality piece with Euro flair that will appeal to those more interested in looking good around town rather than a driver’s car.

Click through to the next page for full specs on the Volvo C30 S.

Price: from $44,990 (as tested).

What we like

  • Styling
  • Feeling of solidity when driving
  • Interior quality
  • Growly engine

What we don’t like

  • Perhaps a bit pricey
  • Bit drab inside
  • If you want overtaking power, buy the turbo version (or a Focus XR5)

Volvo C30 S 2.4i (125 kW)
Engine Type: Five-cylinder petrol
Power Train: Front wheel drive
Number of cylinders: 5
Engine Displacement: 2435 cc
Engine Bore: 83 mm
Engine Stroke: 90 mm
Max Engine Power: 125 kW@6000 rpm
Torque: 230 Nm@4400 rpm
Fuel type: Petrol
Acceleration (0-100) Five-speed Geartronic transmission: 8.8 s
Fuel consumption (city): 13.1 l/100km
Fuel consumption (highway): 6.6 l/100km
Fuel consumption (mixed): 9 l/100km
Emissions CO2: 214 g/km

Fuel Capacity 62 l
Cargo Capacity 233 kg
Towing Capacity 1500 kg

Exterior dimensions
Height 1447 mm
Length 4252 mm
Width 1782 mm
Width inc Mirrors 2039 mm
Wheel base 2640 mm
Track Front 1548 mm
Track Rear 1544 mm
Turning Circle 11.1 m

Interior dimensions
Head Room Front 988 mm
Head Room Rear 959 mm
Shoulder Room Front 1390 mm
Shoulder Room Rear 1303 mm
Leg Room Front 1057 mm
Leg Room Rear 869 mm
Hip Room Front 1380 mm
Hip Room Rear 1146 mm

Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

Volvo New Zealand considering R-Design upgrades for local cars

July 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


Volvo is currently evaluating the demand for its R-Design models with the arrival of a V50 AWD which is touring the country.

The R-Design upgrade is available on the C30 T5, S40 AWD and V50 AWD models and adds only $3500 to the cost of the vehicle.

“It’s a great value for money package,” said Mark Patterson, the General Manager of Volvo Cars. “R-Design is a comprehensive design package that accentuates the sporting capabilities of each vehicle.”

The R-Design kit includes:

* Unique front and rear spoilers and side skirting
* 17 inch Serapis Alloy wheels
* R-Design decals
* R-Design Instruments
* Milled alloy dashboard inlays
* White edged carpet mats
* Brushed aluminium sports pedals
* Unique front grille
* Unique instrument panel
* Alloy or leather steering wheel
* Alloy or leather gear knob
* R-Design trimmed upholstery

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