Blog: Glenn BrooksWatch a plug-in Volvo get smashed up

Glenn Brooks | 18 May 2011

Never a company to shout about its successes, VCC has been quietly testing a batch of 250 plug-in C30 hatchbacks in China, the USA and Europe for some months now. No production model is planned until 2013 - around the time that today's C30 successor is expected to be launched - which gives Volvo a lot of time to work in the way it has always worked; slowly and thoroughly.

I recall reading the media release which announced the experimental C30 DRIVe Electric some months back - the electronics are mounted where they can have room to squish or shatter, while a hefty 280kg battery pack is tucked away in the propshaft tunnel and the space where the fuel tank would be - well away from passengers and deformation zones alike. I've interviewed a few VCC safety engineers over the years and these women and men are unfailingly humble and the real deal; they simply want to save lives and prevent injuries. Moreover, the corporate rectitude that suffuses VCC staffers at the company's base in the suburbs of Gothenburg has clearly been there for decades.

In that context, it's worth wondering aloud which other VM would post a video of so brutal a crash test of a prototype EV onto YouTube. See it for yourself below: at 50 km/h, the car slams hard into a thick steel pole, and then something amazing happens. The footage slows to ensure you have time to see whether or not the under-bonnet components shift into various vacant spaces that one presumes engineers must have designed just for that purpose. Finally, and rather wonderfully, the bounce-back is not only shown but unflattering sounds that would horrify a brand manager are audible: wheels wobble, airbags hiss and the truncated car is reduced to a pathetic, limping, injured thing.

Let us hope that the safety engineers at VCC will continue to have the final say over the branding types (yes, they are only doing their jobs, of course) and image-obsessed executives who have near-suffocated the free thinking spirit at certain other vehicle manufacturers.

By the way, if the C30 crash test video has been publicised by the company, hand on heart, I'm not aware of it - this blog was going to be about, of all things, inductive charging for the C30 DRIVe Electric. Volvo is also working on that, and guess what, not blowing its own trumpet about it, but I somehow ended up on YouTube and found the barrier test myself after reading this, and then allowing my mind to wander elsewhere:

Link to Green Car Website article


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