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Volvo C30 Electric to explore wireless charging

Swedish car maker Volvo is to participate in a new project exploring the development of wireless charging for electric cars.

Collaborating with Belgian technological and development specialists Flanders’ Drive, the car maker is seeking to develop a system which will allow its first electric models recharge without the need for wires or sockets.

The car maker is already producing a short production run of 250 C30 Electric cars for delivery to customers in Sweden in the second half of 2011. It is the first step in the brand’s ambitious ‘Drive towards Zero’ electrification programme, by which the car maker hopes to have a complete range of electric and plug-in hybrid cars by 2020.

Volvo wireless charging

Wireless charging will help electric cars appeal to a wider audience of car buyers by making them easier to use and recharge, Volvo expects.

"The aim is naturally that it should be as convenient as possible to own and use an electric car," explains Johan Konnberg, project manager from the Special Vehicles division of Volvo Car Corporation.

A Volvo C30 Electric will be delivered to Flanders' Drive on Thursday (May 19) to be modified for inductive charging. The handover will mark the formal start of the project, which goes under the name of CED (Continuous Electric Drive).

Other participants in addition to Volvo Car Corporation and Flanders' Drive, which is owned by the Belgian state, are bus manufacturer Van Hool and tram manufacturer Bombardier.

In wireless charging-also known as inductive charging- a charging plate is buried in the ground, for instance in the driveway at home where the car is parked. The charging plate consists of a coil that generates a magnetic field. When the car is parked above the plate, energy from the plate is transferred without physical contact to the car's inductive pick-up.

Charging a battery pack of the size fitted to the Volvo C30 Electric-24 kWh-is expected to take about an hour and twenty minutes, if the battery is entirely discharged. This is much less than the current charge time of around 8-10 hours by normal 16 amp plug-in charging.

The Volvo C30 Electric is designed to be as comfortable, sporty and safe as the standard car. It offers a range of up to 150 kilometres per charge and achieves a top speed of 130km/h.

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Faye Sunderland

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