Plug-in C30 Recharge is a few years off, but the Efficiency arrives next year
11 September 2007

From Rory Lumsdon in Frankfurt

The new C30 Recharge concept is still a good few years from production, but that doesn't mean you'll have to wait long for a green Volvo.

Along with the Recharge, the Swedish firm is showing a super-frugal diesel version of the C30 at Frankfurt, dubbed the Efficiency.

This smoothed-out machine aims to offer low emissions and high fuel economy through a combination of improved aerodynamics, low rolling-resistance tyres and efficient gearing.

Add in an already frugal 1.6-litre diesel engine and you have a car that's capable of 62.7mpg.

It's certainly not as good-looking as the standard C30, or the pumped-up T5, but it offers real-world benefits that you'll be able to enjoy from 2008, and without any substantial price premium over a standard C30 1.6D.

As for the Recharge, it's a different take on the hybrid. Although it does have a 1.6-litre flex-fuel engine (it can run on E85 ethanol or petrol in any combination) it uses this solely for recharging the batteries that power the four electric motors, one in each wheel.

The batteries are a new development of lithium-ion cells, and Volvo says they've got a life expectancy of around 15 years - at least five better than those in Toyota's Prius.

To fully charge the car takes about three hours from a 240v mains supply, after which you've got a range of about 60 miles. If you're in a hurry, a one hour quick-charge will give you 30 miles. Or, of course, you could switch on the engine and use your own built-in generator.

Our Verdict

Volvo C30 2007-2012

The C30 2.0D disappoints, but 1.6D is very competitive. Nice, but flawed

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