DETROIT -- Volvo will test an electric version of the C30 hatchback to test in the U.S. market this year, the Swedish automaker said.
Stefan Jacoby, Volvo's CEO, said an extended range C30 hybrid plug-in would also be available in Europe in 2012. A plug-in hybrid version of the C30 will follow for the U.S. market in 2013.
Jacoby said Volvo wants to bring a new buzz-word to the electric vehicle segment.
“Most of the talk around these innovating vehicles is about design, about usability, charging times, price and of course driving range,” he said Tuesday at the Detroit auto show. “Few manufacturers have focused on the safety aspect. This is going to change here and now.”
Volvo unveiled the crash-testd C30 to show what a safe, uncompromising electric vehicle should look like, Jacoby said. The vehicle was tested in Volvo's safety lab in Gothenburg, Sweden, in order to assure the batteries and cables would be completely intact after a side or rear-impact collision.
The electric version of the C30 is just as safe as the gasoline powered version, said Jan Ivarsson, head of Volvo's safety strategy.
Ivarsson said the battery system was placed in the front center of the car to protect the electric components from damage. They also reinforced the surrounding carriage to further insulate batteries from harm.