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Siemens, Volvo Pair Up on EV Development

Siemens and Volvo are the latest companies to announce an alternative-fuel vehicle collaboration, saying they intend to jointly advance the technical development of electric cars.

The companies have agreed on an extensive strategic cooperation, with the focus on joint development of electrical drive technology, power electronics and charging technology, as well as the integration of those systems into Volvo C 30 Electric cars. The first vehicles in this model fitted with Siemens electric motors will be on the test tracks at the end of this year.

Beginning in late 2012, Volvo will deliver a test series of up to 200 vehicles to Siemens, which will then validate the cars under real-life conditions as part of a Siemens internal test fleet. In addition, Siemens says it will provide highly efficient and fast on-board and off-board charging systems.

In the past two weeks, there have been a wave of companies announcing collaborations aimed at developing alternative fuel vehicles. GM and electronics manufacturer LG announced that they plan to design and engineer electric vehicles together. Ford and Toyota signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at developing advanced hybrid systems for light trucks and SUVs. And Magna International and the Canadian province of Ontario announced an investment of C$432 million ($441 million) in EV research.

Volvo and Siemens say their goals and core competencies in electric mobility are “perfectly matched,” with the partnership giving Siemens a chance to extend its electric drive technology into the automotive market, and Volvo benefiting from “proven and efficient” Siemens tech. Siemens’ drive technology is already used in railway systems and hybrid buses.

Siemens says its Industry Sector will also contribute to accelerating progress in and cutting the cost of vehicle and battery production.

And Siemens says it is continuing to work on industrializing the production of hydrogen for fuel cells. The goal is to convert temporary excess energy from renewable power generation into “green” hydrogen, which can then be directly used in industrial applications, fuel-cell vehicles, and in battery-powered electric cars by means of a prior power re-conversion process.

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