Monday, June 1, 2009

Volvo and Vattenfall - a Plug-in Hybrid future.

I've followed the announcements between Volvo Car Corporation and Vattenfall made in Stockholm earlier today with great interest. In summary, it's an industrial joint venture between the two companies to develop plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2012, with some evaluation cars running during summer 2009.

But this short summary doesn't in any way convey the significance of the announcement. Volvo's DRIVe cars are currently emitting as little as 104g/km which, for those non-petrol heads out there, isn't a great deal. These Plug-in Hybrid cars, when they arrive in only a few years from now, will emit less than 50 grams per kilometre. No car currently gets anywhere near these levels at the moment, or is appearing to any time soon.

So, the lowest levels of CO2. Twin this with the recent UK government announcement regarding discounts on Plug-in Hybrid cars of up to £5,000 from 2011, it's good news all round. Especially as almost seven million car buyers in the UK would consider buying an electric car in the next five years, according to a survey by the RAC Foundation. That's one in five British car buyers.

The director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister, said: 'What the Government is in danger of doing is putting the cart before the horse. It is actively promoting the purchase of electric vehicles long before there is any chance of manufacturers making them widely available.' The RAC Foundation points to the Governments own prediction that electric vehicles won’t be available on the mass market until 2017. Well Mr Glaister, look no further than Volvo - we'll have had cars on the market for at least five years by then.

For more detailed information on the announcements, visit -

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