Sometimes when looking forward, you have to look back to really get inspired.
110 years ago electric cars were at their peak, representing over a quarter of all cars on the road in America, but Henry Ford and the mass-production gas motor changed all that. And while most of us have gotten used to the idea of an engine under the hood, a transmission, and sometimes a driveshaft as integral to our cars, Volvo is taking a nod from the first electric carriages and putting their motors where they are most needed: the wheels. The Volvo ReCharge is a plug-in hybrid concept that relys on four indepedant electric motors, one in each wheel, to move and power the C30-based concept.
The ReCharge concept is said to get 60 miles on electric power, and a small petrol engine sooths range anxiety. Volvo is also known for some of the world’s safest cars, and true to form the ReCharge boasts numerous safety advantages over its petrol-powered cousin. There is no driveshaft or transmission, which means a solid firewall and flat floors and increased energy efficiency. Should one motor fail, the other three can compensate for their fallen comrade and keep you moving. Also, there are no brakepads, but rather the motors do the stopping, which also serves to restore some lost energy via regenerative braking.
Volvo was in talks with the Swedish government for small-scale fleet testing of the ReCharge, which is said to be the basis for an upcoming 2012 production car from Volvo, though not much has been heard of the ReCharge since it debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show.
Source: MSN Autos
More from the original Volvo press release.