Back in October 2010, Volvo Car Corporation was and still is rewriting the rulebook on how we will use our cars in the future with its 3CC prototype.
From the outside, the Volvo 3CC has an iconic funky-cool tapered shape designed to make a dynamic statement that nonetheless is unmistakably Volvo. Under the hood is an electric powertrain that quietly propels the Volvo 3CC to a governed top speed of over 135 km/h (85 mph) and delivers zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration in approximately ten seconds – with zero emissions!
Just 3899 mm (153.5 in.) long, 1624 mm (64 in.) wide and 1321 mm (52 in.) high, the Volvo 3CC has dimensions similar to a classic 2-seater sports car – but that is where similarities end. For the sporty vehicle packs a surprise: a unique two-plus-one configuration, providing seating for two adults in the front and a unique rear seat solution for an additional adult or two children.
This 3-seat configuration provides a unique experience with regards to the occupants’ communication, unprecedented rear occupant’s comfort and all-around visibility for all passengers.
The Volvo 3CC is the brainchild of the designers, engineers and business people at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center think-tank in California. Their task was to create a `future-proof concept´ that would enhance sustainable mobility. A car not only fuel-efficient, versatile, comfortable, and safe, but also exciting to drive and look at.
“We want to connect in a positive way with consumers so that they say ‘I want to be seen in this car’,” Lars Erik Lundin explains. “We want to add emotional value to people’s lives by offering an environmentally compatible car that appeals to all the senses, and which people want to drive.”
Despite its compactness, the Volvo 3CC has been designed to feel spacious through organic lines, and light colors. Inside, the fixed eye plane ergonomics and low profile A-pillar create a sense of openness aided by three transparent panels in the roof. As the doors open by swinging upwards, a floating dash panel slides forward to ease ingress and egress. A unique sliding seat system also assists ingress and egress to the rear seat. The pedals also adjust for individual requirements.
But Volvo Car Corporation’s aim was not just to make the 3CC look good – they also wanted to deliver on overall sustainable mobility goals by providing excellent efficiency. Volvo has achieved this objective through good aerodynamics on a compact footprint, lightweight body materials, and an electric powertrain.
Volvo opted to give the Volvo 3CC a high strength steel space frame and composite sandwich floor panels for safety and lightweight. The outer body is a bonded one piece carbon fibre shell. The resulting chassis rigidity and its innovative suspension also give the car great handling characteristics.
“The double floor used to house the electric energy storage makes the concept future-proof in that the layout can be adapted for the most appropriate powertrain in the future, whether it be petrol, diesel, biogas, or hybrid electric,” explains Ichiro Sugioka, Science Officer at VMCC in California. “In Shanghai, we are demonstrating the electric powertrain, one of the most challenging to package into a vehicle, to highlight its potential where there is abundance of renewable energy that can be converted to electricity.”
Meticulous wind tunnel tests resulted in an enhanced aerodynamic efficiency that is 30% better than the new S40 sedan.
With a potential driving range of over 300 km (180 miles) under certain driving conditions, the torque-to-weight ratio is roughly comparable to the powerful T5 model, but available over 0 – 3500 rpm. In typical driving conditions, about 20 percent of the energy can be recovered by regenerative braking.
This performance is achieved using a drivetrain specifically designed for the Volvo 3CC, although it too is a prototype. The electric power comes from lithium-ion cells identical to those used in modern laptop computers that are packaged in the thin sandwich floor.
NOW LET’S JUST SEE AN ELECTRIC CAR ON THE ROAD
More from The Green Living Guy:
1. Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman and Bob Brandt
2. Build Your Own Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman
3. Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Carl Vogel