This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 19, 2005

Volvo Unveils the 3CC, an Electric-Powered Sports Car

Photo of the Volvo 3CC, which tapers to a high ridge in the back.

The unique aerodynamic styling of Volvo's 3CC concept car allows room for a third seat in back.
Credit: Volvo

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) opened to the public on January 15th, and while the major U.S. automakers are focusing on hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, Volvo took a different route, unveiling a sports car powered entirely with lithium-ion batteries. The 3CC concept car features an 80-kilowatt motor that delivers up to 107 horsepower. The carbon-fiber body is mounted on a steel space frame and composite floor panels, giving the lightweight vehicle the ability to leap to 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. Although the size of a two-seater, the unique ducktail design creates room for a third seat in the back, while the batteries are sandwiched into the floor panels. Volvo claims the 3CC could travel 180 miles on one charge under ideal driving conditions. See the January 10th press release by choosing the appropriate language under the "Public Entrance" heading of the Volvo Media Web site, and for more information on the 3CC, see Volvo's "Detroit Auto Show 2005" and "Concept Lab" Web sites.

For buyers not willing to wait for the 3CC concept car to become reality, Monaco-based Venturi unveiled its commercially available electric-powered sports car at the Los Angeles Auto Show in early January. The Venturi Fetish draws on a lithium-ion battery to power a 180-kilowatt motor, equivalent to a 300-horsepower engine. Thanks in part to a carbon-fiber body mounted on a carbon-aluminum honeycomb, the 2,425-pound car races to 60 miles per hour in under 4.5 seconds. It has a top speed of about 105 miles per hour and can run at least 155 miles between charges. The Venturi Fetish is sold in Monaco, Europe, Japan, and California, and potential buyers should hurry, but check their credit ratings first: Reserved to a very limited number of buyers, the Fetish is handmade at a starting price of 450,000 Euros, or about $588,500. See the Fetish specifications and sales details on the Venturi Web site.

For those looking for something a little slower and a lot cheaper, DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) has recently completed testing of four Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) from Global Electric Motorcars, LLC, a DaimlerChrysler company. The NEVs, designed for streets with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour, achieved ranges of up to 44 miles at fuel costs of less than 2 cents per mile. See the INEEL press release and the data from INEEL's Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity.