Volvo Expands Green Model Range

By: Kevin Anderson


Volvo is delivering FlexiFuel cars powered by renewable bioethanol on some European markets this coming autumn. Also, Volvo's green model range will be extended to include the new C30. The latter will also be offered with FlexiFuel power.

"Interest in ethanol as a vehicle fuel is growing in Europe," said Gerry Keaney, senior vice president market, sales and customer service of Volvo Cars. "We are therefore expanding our range with additional models on a total of 9 markets. First to get Volvo's FlexiFuel cars outside Sweden will be Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Norway. It's very encouraging that the market is expanding and that political initiatives are being taken."

France announced that it will put up 500 fuel stations for E85 next year. E85 is a combination of 85 percent renewable ethanol and 15 percent petrol. Said fuel will be generated from local agricultural products. So far, there are 23 plants that are producing ethanol in Europe. This number is anticipated to increase to more than 60 plants by 2008. In Europe, about 1.8 million liters of ethanol are produced every year. The ethanol produced came primarily from sugar-beet and other grains in Europe. The produce is also expected to soar threefold in the year 2008.

The expanded green model range includes 3 Volvo models C30, S40 and V50. They are all available with optimized FlexiFuel alternative. The C30 is marketed as a groundbreaking hatchback that is especially designed for the new generation of drivers. S40 and V50 are both compact luxury cars. They belong to the second generation of Volvo compact cars. are built on the Volvo P1 platform. Last year, the car was nominated for the World Car of the Year. V50 is a station wagon version of S40. Its interior highlights soft 'theatre' lighting.

Now, C30, S40 and V50 are powered by a 4-cylinder naturally aspirated engine generating 125 horsepower. They are also equipped with modified fuel hoses, valves and gaskets to withstand ethanol's more corrosive properties. They also use an updated version of the software calibration, which is specifically designed for ethanol. Also, the engine management system accurately supervises the mix of bioethanol and petrol in the fuel tank and suits ignition and injection automatically.

"A renewable fuel will not on its own be able to replace today's fossil fuels, and the range of alternative fuels will probably be far wider in the future. Many different fuels and technologies will therefore be developed in parallel. Ethanol reduces dependency on fossil fuels and Volvo's FlexiFuel programme thus makes a vital contribution to our strategy of environmental sustainability," concluded Gerry Keaney.

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