Volvo’s cool glass-backed hatch joins the show’s elec­tric charge

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - PAUL GOVER paul.gover@cars­

Trust Volvo to crash a C30 to demon­strate elec­tric ve­hi­cles, bat­ter­ies and all, can be five-star safety propo­si­tions

ELEC­TRIC cars with one sur­pris­ing twist will open a new win­dow on the fu­ture when the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show be­gins in Mel­bourne on July 1.

At least four plug-in bat­tery cars will be at the show, with Mit­subishi head­lin­ing its $49,000 iMiEV, Nis­san go­ing pub­lic in Aus­tralia with its Leaf and Re­nault rac­ing to air­freight its new Flu­ence ZE from France for its first pub­lic ap­pear­ance since its Down Un­der sales con­fir­ma­tion.

But it is Volvo that is adding the im­pact— lit­er­ally— with its C30 Elec­tric.

The car for the show is the sur­vivor of the first pub­lic crash test in­volv­ing a pro­duc­tion­ready bat­tery-pow­ered car.

It was hit with a 40 per cent off­set-frontal im­pact at 64km/h, one of the tough­est crashes any­where in the world, to high­light the work done by Volvo to pro­tect its safety-first rep­u­ta­tion as the world moves to­wards elec­tric cars.

Volvo says there was no de­for­ma­tion of the bat­tery pack, no sev­er­ing of cru­cial ca­bles and com­put­ers and no leak­age of bat­tery flu­ids dur­ing or af­ter the im­pact.

‘‘ Our tests show it is vi­tal to sep­a­rate the bat­ter­ies from the elec­tric car’s crum­ple zones to make it as safe as a con­ven­tional car,’’ says pres­i­dent of Volvo Cars Ste­fan Ja­coby. The re­sults of the crash test were no sur­prise at Volvo, which has al­ready moved on from the sin­gle­frontal test with de­vel­op­ment of its C30 Elec­tric.

‘‘ The test pro­duced ex­actly the re­sults we ex­pected,’’ says se­nior safety man­ager at Volvo in Swe­den Jan Ivars­son.

‘‘ The C30 Elec­tric of­fers the very same high safety level as a C30 with a com­bus­tion en­gine. The front de­formed and dis­trib­uted the crash en­ergy as we ex­pected.

‘‘ Both the bat­ter­ies and the ca­bles that are part of the elec­tric sys­tem re­mained en­tirely in­tact af­ter the col­li­sion.’’

The crash-sur­vivor C30 Elec­tric stars for Volvo at the show but the com­pany also has its V60 plug-in hy­brid for dis­play and is pre­view­ing a new go-faster car— a lim­ited edi­tion S60 T6 R De­sign, which is due in show­rooms from Au­gust.

Volvo Aus­tralia is fi­nal­is­ing de­tails of the per­for­mance S60, in­clud­ing the price, but prom­ises a car tweaked by its Polestar mo­tor­sport part­ner to pro­duce 242kW and 470Nm, enough to slash the sedan’s sprint from rest to 100km/h to about 5.8 sec­onds.

It has unique wheels, new trim and a high-per­for­mance He­ico ex­haust.

Not your av­er­age ser­vice sta­tion: The elec­tric Volvo C30 ‘‘fills up’’

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