Volvo Hybrid Technology
The Ford Motor Company's recent announcement of the Plug-In Hybrid was an excellent advancement in hydrogen fuel cell automotive technology. Ford's ingenuity was to introduce the Ford Edge Hy Series Concept vehicle and offer the hybrid functionality of electric power and fuel cell power using lithium ion storage batteries and compressed hydrogen gas in a storage tank to drive an all electric propulsion system.
Another first in September of this year in Goteborg, Sweden, was Volvo who unveiled the C30 Plug-In Hybrid (gasoline/petrol), which can travel the first 100 km of a journey on battery power alone, and then switch over to the combustion engine. This concept would allow some households the ability to drive short distances around their home or to work and never use any gasoline, and it would also mean zero CO2 emissions while the C30 Plug-In was running on its batteries.
Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo Cars says "This is a ground-breaking innovation for sustainable transportation. A person driving less than 100 kilometres a day will rarely need to visit a filling station. In the USA, this may apply to almost 80 percent of drivers". The Volvo C30 Plug-In has a lithium polymer battery pack in the luggage compartment, four in-line electric propulsion motors in the wheels, and a 1.6 L gasoline powered back-up generation system to drive the electric motors once on-board battery power is depleted.
What made the announcement of the Volvo technology interesting is that they introduced a first, which was the concept of plugging a gasoline powered hybrid car into a home AC 110/220 Volt system. Volvo has named this hybrid system the Volvo ReCharge concept and say that even for someone who travels a distance of 150 km per day, the C30 Plug-In achieves 1.9L/100km or 124 mpg. Volvo worked with British electromagnetic specialists PML Flightlink to develop the ReCharge concept and have termed the 1.6 L back-up power generation system the APU (Auxilliary Power Unit).Toyota has also taken hybrid technology a long way and their regenerative braking systems on the Lexus and Toyota Hybrids are currently the most advanced systems in the automotive industry. Both Volvo and Toyota will probably be working very hard to be the first to get a plug in hybrid into the marketplace as a production vehicle, because this technology will sell out quickly in automotive showrooms.