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Meet the Volvo C30 Electric

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Last week, Volvo announced an agreement to demonstrate the C30 Electric in Shanghai, China. The Volvo C30 Electric has been on the roads in Europe for testing. Slowly, but surely, Volvo has begun dabbling in the electric car market.  The Swedish auto manufacturer known for its safety will build 400 prototype models that will be available on a 3-year lease, starting next year.

Volvo has had an electric vehicle in the works for a couple years now.  In September of 2009, they first showed their prototype for an electric C30, and later presented an updated prototype at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.  Later in 2010, the concept car was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show.

Using a lithium-ion battery and 82kW motor, the electric C30 gets a top speed of about 81mph and can go from 0 to 60mph in about 12 seconds.  It has a range of up to 100 miles per charge.

Reviews of the Volvo C30 Electric seem promising. Last spring, Engadget’s Tim Stevens had many positive things to say during his test drive of the Volvo C30 Electric, and considers it to be “one of the few genuinely good looking electric cars.”  According to Stevens, the C30 electric drives just like the non-electric, and the quiet environment makes for a pleasant drive.

A unique aspect that the review focuses on is the climate control system.  It certainly sounds attractive: apparently there is an ethanol based heater under the dash that will warm the car up in three minutes, without requiring the engine to be warmed up.  This is a great innovation for electric cars because it means the car can be warmed without drawing off the electricity from the battery, so more power can be used for driving.

Unfortunately for interested Volvo fans, the prototypes are mainly meant for corporations and government fleet users to lease, and not really for individual fans.  This is reflected in the price of about $2,100 per month.  Volvo is apparently working on a model that will hopefully be more marketable to individual users, which will be revealed next year.  This model is expected to be more competitive with the Nissan Leaf.

Source: Endadget

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Aim to Keep Your Focus… on the Road

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Volvo designers have offered an insight into Volvo’s new touchscreen system. With plenty of pictures to demonstrate the abilities of the touchscreens, their post highlights some of the features and goals of the touchscreen.

Their main inspiration was the smart phone, and in Volvo cars they hope to replace buttons and levers completely with the touchscreen technology. They said some buttons and knobs may have a physical button – like the volume – but even those may mainly act as decoration.

There will be two touchscreens, one in the front center console for the driver, and one in the back for passengers. The screens will be able to communicate to each other by passing information along a light strip running from the front to the back.

Features included on the touch screen, which will be available on both screens, include entertainment, comfort, safety, playlists, etc. Drivers can get as many apps as they want, and can already choose from 6-7 Volvo apps.

To keep the driver’s hands on the wheel, there are touch-sensitive, translucent paddles that control the menus in the instrument cluster. A built-in camera also monitors eye movement so that when the driver looks at the touchscreen, it will light up, and as the driver reaches to use the screen, it will change to provide the controls the driver needs.

Volvo aims to keep the technology sophisticated, yet intuitive. However, some might prefer more traditional knobs and buttons because you can use them without looking. A flat screen, on the other hand, requires you to take your eyes off the road and onto the screen.

What do you think?

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