Companies from Volkswagen to Mitsubishi are determined not to miss out on the electric vehicle (EV) rush, and now Sweden’s Volvo is ramping up its electric mobility efforts. This week the Swedish automobile manufacturer (recently sold by Ford to a Chinese consortium) announced a strategic partnership with Siemens to work on the development of electrical drive technology, charging technology, and battery management–all with the goal to integrate those systems into Volvo’s line of C30 electronic cars.
The companies’ joint plan starts with testing the Volvo cars running on Siemens’ electric motors by the end of the year. At the end of 2012, Volvo will send Siemens a fleet of 200 cars to Siemens, which will optimize the charging systems before the models are released.
Both companies win from this partnership. For Volvo, which has already tested cars and trucks using alternative fuels, its work with Siemens enhances the car manufacturer’s EV and plug-in models. Volvo has started a pilot production of its C30 electric car this year, and plans to release the V60, a plug-in, in 2012. Meanwhile Siemens adds to its portfolio of EV battery technology, from charging stations to rechargeable vehicle batteries.
Such partnerships to push the envelope in improving electric vehicle technology are on the upswing. GM and LG announced a working agreement last week, and just a few days before that, Toyota and Ford agreed to collaborate on hybrid systems for pick-up trucks and SUVs.
Siemens describes its electric motors for Volvo as having a modular design and very compact. In carspeak, the batteries now have a peak power output of 108 kilowatts and a maximum torque of 220 Newton meters. Siemens position as a global software and automation technology should help the company reduce the costs of vehicle and battery production, which will only help gain EVs acceptance by consumers.
The companies R&D will not stop with EVs and battery technology. Siemens claims it will continue to work on hydrogen fuel cell technology, with a goal to process excess energy from alternative power generation into “green” hydrogen. That energy has the potential for use in industrial purposes, automotive fuel cells, and battery powered cars.
However this partnership unfolds, the recent news from Volvo, Siemens, and other companies should have EV enthusiasts excited. Watch for even more announcements in the coming months–all of which were unimaginable just a few years ago.