Volvo, Vattenfall To Make Electric Cars

Ford-owned Volvo Cars said Monday it has set up a joint venture with Swedish energy company Vattenfall to develop cars that can be charged directly from a wall socket.

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Ford-owned Volvo Cars said Monday it has set up a joint venture with Swedish energy company Vattenfall to develop cars that can be charged directly from a wall socket.

Volvo, which is expected to be sold by Ford Motor Co. shortly, said the cars will be powered by both electricity and diesel. The car's new technology is planned to be introduced to the European market in 2012.

The Goteborg-based company said it will make the cars, while Vattenfall will develop the charging systems and supply the cars with electricity.

Volvo Cars chief executive Stephen Odell said the charging time for the car's battery will be 5 hours and it will last for around 50 kilometers if driven solely on electric power. After that the driver can switch to diesel.

However, the company said 75 percent of European drivers drive less than 50 kilometers a day, which means the battery would last.

Odell didn't want to say how much the project would cost but said it was a "substantial investment for both companies."

He said the cost of the technology would be more expensive than for a normal car, which would be mirrored in the retail price. However, he said he hoped governments would subsidize cars with low carbon dioxide emissions to bring down the cost for customers.

Three Volvo V70 demonstration cars will be presented in this summer, which will be used to test different ways of charging in the home or at public charging stations.

The joint venture is the result of a cooperation project between the two companies that started in January 2007.

"Through this cooperation we hope to be able to speed up the introduction of electric cars," Vattenfall's president and chief executive, Lars G Josefsson said in a statement.

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