Detroit Auto Show: Volvo C30 Electric

Usually at an auto show, the vehicles on display are washed, shined, buffed and lighted to a glorious state of new-car perfection. Volvo’s taking a different tack this year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit – showing an electric vehicle with a smashed up front end.

It makes sense, when you think about it: Volvo has always leaned hard on safety in its marketing, so showing the C30 Electric in a post-frontal-collision-test state of disrepair reinforces that point, while also drawing attention to the company’s somewhat lagging electric program.

Volvo C30 Electric, front-end collision test

image via Volvo

Volvo said the blasted display car had a fully charged battery when it was tested at the company’s crash test laboratory in early December 2010. In the offset collision, 40 percent of the front of the vehicle hit a barrier at 40 mph.

“The test produced exactly the results we expected,” Jan Ivarsson, a senior safety manager for the company, said. “The C30 Electric offers the very same high safety level as a C30 with a combustion engine. The front deformed and distributed the crash energy as we expected. Both the batteries and the cables that are part of the electric system remained entirely intact after the collision.”

Volvo said a demo fleet of the electric C30 is planned for the United States later in 2011.

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Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.