Volvo's plug-in hybrid ReCharge Concept, developed in California by Volvo Concept and Monitoring Center, features four electric motors - one at each wheel. The motors are powered by lithium-polymer batteries which can be charged from a standard household plug.
A 100hp four-cylinder motor is also fitted, but the car can be run up to 100km on electricity alone. Once the electrical supply of the batteries dips below 30% the combustion engine tops them up, while the electric motors contributing electricity via regenerative braking capabilities. Depending upon the distance and mode of transport, fuel consumption is expected to vary between 0 and 5.5L/100km.
GM's Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid functions in a similar manner, but Volvo's ReCharge Concept also has a user-operated button allowing manual initiation of the Flexfuel four cylinder engine. The ReCharge is based on the familiar C30 platform and shares its good looks and sleek proportions.
Volvo emphasizes that this new generation of plug-in hybrids is not like current hybrid-assist vehicles which only use the electric motors briefly and as aids. The ReCharge is designed to run primarily on the electricity provided via plugin power in order to reduce emissions. The company has committed upwards of $1b towards hybrid research and development. It's good to know the money is producing results.
More images after the jump.