21 October 2004

Volvo has revealed a radical three-seat electric sports car concept capable of breaking the 10sec 0-60mph barrier. The Volvo 3CC will also hit 85mph flat-out and travel up to 180 miles without recharging. The electric motor uses laptop-style lithium ion batteries hidden in the floor to produce 108bhp, and gives the car a similar torque-to-weight ratio to Volvo’s V70 T5. But just as important as the technology are the styling hints it provides about a smaller car that could be introduced below the S40/V50.

The rear seat is designed to accommodate one adult or two children, and allows the rear glasshouse to be swept inwards to minimise drag. Other new interior details include ‘proximity’ switches, which activate and change colour when the driver’s finger gets close.

The 3CC was designed at Volvo’s Vehicle Monitoring and Concept Centre in California, which predicts future demand in addition to producing advanced design work. The company chose to unveil the car at Michelin’s low-emission vehicle competition, held in Shanghai. Volvo is considering opening a factory in China and the Chinese government is urgently investigating means of reducing its dependence on imported oil as private car ownership explodes. The 3CC is designed to accommodate fuel cells or diesel, petrol or hybrid combustion engines. Although not destined for production, some of the 3CC’s styling and interior details will appear on future Volvos. The S40’s hallmark floating central console is echoed in the 3CC but has been flipped on its side and now becomes the entire dashboard. The same theme is likely to be seen on production cars.

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