The One Tonne Life project has ended and the content on this web page is static and is not updated any more. The project was unique and pioneering, making the conclusions and all information connected to the project just as interesting and up-to-date today as when it was run. Read more about the project and get inspired! (March 2017)

One Tonne Life

Tag: Volvo C30 Electric

Thanks and good luck, Lindells!

The family Lindell has now returned to their former life. We want to thank them for all time and commitment during the past six months in order to reach 1 tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. will be left online so that is possible to browse the content published during the project time.

One Tonne Life is a project in which A-hus, Vattenfall and the Volvo Car Corporation joined forces with industry partners ICA and Siemens to create a climate-smart household.

Over a period of six months, the Lindell test family lived a climate-smart lifestyle with the aim of reducing their carbon dioxide emissions from 7.3 tonnes per year, which is roughly the average in Sweden, to a minimalistic one tonne. After an impressive final sprint, the Lindells crossed the finishing line at 1.5 tonnes.

The Lindells exchanged their 1970s home and their almost 10-year-old cars for a newly built, climate-smart wooden house from A-hus and a battery-powered Volvo C30 electric. Vattenfall provided renewable electricity, new energy technology and energy coaching. ICA and Siemens were industry partners for food and household appliances respectively. Method development and calculation of the family’s carbon dioxide footprint took place in partnership with the Chalmers University of Technology and the City of Stockholm’s environment and Health Administration.

Transportation and electricity consumption were the areas in which the family made the most progress.

Emissions from transport dropped by more than 90 percent, not least thanks to the fact that the family’s Volvo C30 electric was recharged with electricity sourced from hydropower. The family’s home from A-hus produced its own electricity and with renewable energy from hydropower, carbon dioxide emissions from purchased electricity were virtually zero.

Carbon dioxide emissions from accommodation were more than halved – and food is the third area in which the family made considerable progress. By not throwing away food and by making wise choices, the Lindells made a significant cut in their carbon dioxide footprint. Varying one’s choice of meat and eating more vegetables are easy ways for anyone to reduce food-based carbon dioxide emissions.

Viewed per category, the Lindells managed to reduce their CO2 emissions from transport by almost 95 percent, from food by 80 percent, from accommodation by 60 percent and in other areas by 50 percent. All told this means their CO2 footprint shrank by 75 percent.

Read more
Final report – detailed figures and comments from the family and the companies involved (PDF)
Calculation –  live climate-smart and save money each month (PDF)

The photo is taken June 13th after the official closing of the One Tonne Life project. In the middle Alicja, Hannah, Nils and Jonathan Lindell, surrounded by several of the persons who have been involved in project administration, media contacts, film and photography during the projekt. In the background the solar panel facade of the One Tonne Life house.

Happy New Model Year

It’s true. However strange it may sound, production is currently under way for model year 2013. Product development and production of cars are very complex issues. Not only do the cars have to function properly and offer good value for money, they also have to fit into the model range and enter the market at exactly the right time. That is why we here at Volvo (along with most other manufacturers) have a specific date for the new model year at the factory. We fix a date to avoid mixing together components and details that do not belong together. In Volvo’s case the model year changes in week 20. For car enthusiasts with a particular interest in the environment, there are several points of interest. Not least that Volvo has 19 new variants classified as environmentally optimised or “green” cars as per the table below.

What is entirely new is the T4F engine in the larger cars. The T4F is the synthesis of several years of product development and it is a powerful yet energy-efficient ethanol engine. What is more, DRIVe is back in the V70 and S80. Now with a start-stop function. Naturally the C30 Electric is also included this model year, with series production starting this summer.

All these models give the car owner 5 years of road tax exemption. What is more, some municipalities offer free parking for green cars. Buyers have to check this with their local authorities.

Finally I would like to mention that Volvo’s City Safety system is now standard on all S60, V60, V70, S70, XC60 and XC70 models. Naturally also on the green versions of these cars. City Safety is a system that monitors vehicles ahead in traffic queues and automatically brakes if the driver fails to do so. Read more about the new models on Volvo’s website:

Next week I will write about how things went at the first official drive in the V60 plug-in hybrid in Berlin at Michelin Bibendum.

David Weiner, Volvo

Volvo C30 Electric and safety

One issue linked to this business of electric cars that I feel is very interesting is that of safety. Driving around with 24 kWh in the luggage compartment may feel rather special for many people. 1 kWh is the energy needed to lift 1200 kg 300 metres straight into the air. With 24 kWh you could thus lift more than 1000 Volvos to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Here at Volvo we’ve worked a lot on the subject of safety, examining what happens if a car with this many kilowatts on board is involved in a collision. It’s an immensely interesting assignment. Early on in our development of the C30 Electric we decided to accept the challenge – we wouldn’t be delivering any electric car to the market if it wasn’t as safe as any other model in the entire Volvo range. What are your thoughts? Is safety for electric cars something you’ve thought about?

See some clips from collision tests we conducted with the electric car:

All the tests went really well. We’re absolutely certain that the battery pack’s location in the middle of the car is the perfect solution.

Malin Person, Volvo

Webisode #8 “Trip to Gothenburg”

You get what you buy!

When I buy macaroni at my local ICA supermarket, I expect the package to contain just that – macaroni. Which it always does. Furthermore, if I buy “Krav” eco-labelled macaroni I don’t expect to find that it contains traces of pesticides. There’s nothing particularly strange about any of this.

So how about when it comes to electricity? This is something one can argue about without end, and it’s into this hornet’s nest that I’m now stepping. The fundamental question to ask is whether electricity is special or not as a product. Electricity should naturally be regarded as a product just like any other. That is why regulations governing the guarantee of origin of electricity were brought in on December 1, 2010 (2010:601).  Put simply, this means that the company producing the electricity has the right to issue a certificate of origin for all electricity produced using a particular type of source. This certificate can be sold on but must be annulled once it reaches the end-customer so that it is not counted several times over. The aim of this entire legislative package is to support the use of energy from renewable sources. In the EU there is a directive on this issue which in Sweden was dealt with in government bill 2009/10:128 “Implementation of the Directive on Renewable Energy”. For anyone particularly interested in legislation, statistical data and legal texts, I recommend that you read this document in its entirety. For everyone else, what it all boils down to is that you get what you buy. Just as with the macaroni that I started off talking about.

That’s why it’s particularly important to see to it that you have a good agreement for your electricity. That is how you can be sure you are getting electricity with a small CO2 footprint and that you can make a significant contribution to cutting your CO2 emissions. For instance, Vattenfall’s electricity from hydro-power produces 6 g of CO2/kWh. If you recharge your Volvo C30 Electric with electricity from hydro-power, this corresponds to less than 1 g of CO2/km. The green-car limit is 120 g of CO2/km and the Swedish average for 2010 was 152.3 g of CO2/km (source: JATO)

You are probably familiar with the issues of marginal electricity, electricity from Danish coal-fired power stations and so on. These issues are very complex and should naturally be taken into account. But not by the customer. Marginal electricity is something that should be dealt with by the decision-makers and the power industry.

As the customer, you always get what you buy. That’s the law.

David Weiner, Volvo

What can you do with 0.15 kWh of electricity?

I live in south-east Göteborg and commute to Volvo’s Torslanda plant every day. That makes a round trip of 40 km a day. A Volvo C30 Electric consumes 15 kWh of electricity per 100 km in mixed driving conditions, so if I had a C30 Electric I would use about 6 kWh of electricity per day (for the 40 km daily commute). For the same distance, a C30 DRIVe would use 3.8 litres of diesel per 100 km, which means 15 kWh of energy. In other words, more than twice as much energy. This is because an electric motor is far more efficient than an internal combustion engine.

But the question was what we can do with 0.15 kWh of electricity. Drive a Volvo C30 Electric a distance of 1 km, for instance. But it is of course possible to use that power for other things too. The table below offers a few examples by way of comparison.

There are naturally considerable variations between different household machines. This can be seen, for instance, in the Siemens products with which the house is equipped – they are particularly energy-efficient. What is important to demonstrate when we now start using electricity to power our cars, is that the energy that we use in the house is also used for the car. So by how much will our electricity bill increase when the car runs on electricity? If the car is driven 15,000 km/year, it will consume about 2250 kWh. This corresponds to an increase of 10% in the average Swedish villa (22,000 kWh according to the Swedish Energy Agency).

The following table presents an interesting comparison between different fuels. 1 km in the Volvo C30 Electric consumes 0.15 kWh. This corresponds in terms of energy content to:

However, internal combustion engines have a much lower efficiency rating, so to cover 1 km they will require more than twice as much of each fuel, depending on the type of engine fitted. The exact figures for Volvo’s car range can be found at

David Weiner, Volvo

Skiing holidays and the climate

Skiing is fun. Great fun. Here in Göteborg and elsewhere in Sweden, schoolchildren are enjoying the annual week’s break when they get the chance to go on skiing holidays with their parents.

How does their trip to the ski resorts impact the climate? Put simply, a short trip is better than a long one, and travelling by train is better than going by car, which in turn is better than flying. I’ve made my calculations using a few different examples, including a trip to the Alps (in this case Verbier) and two ski resorts in Sweden – Åre and Sälen.

The basic data for the project states that an aircraft emits 245 g of CO2/person km, a bus produces 40 g of CO2/person km, a Volvo V70 DRIVe 34.5 g of CO2/person km and a train in Sweden emits 1.5 g of CO2/person km. For the V70 we have assumed 4 people are in the car, and 500 g of CO2/l diesel during manufacture. The V70 DRIVe consumes 4.5 l/100 km and emits 119 g of CO2/km in mixed driving. The C30 Electric is not a viable alternative at present since the battery pack’s operating range is too much of a limitation. On the other hand, the V60 plug-in hybrid will handle a long trip perfectly.

We can begin with the Alps and their marvellous ski slopes. From Stockholm the distance is about 1800 km as the crow flies and 1900 km by road. It is possible to fly to the Alps, supplementing the last stretch with a transfer service, and it is also possible to get there by bus or in your own car. I have discounted the train as an alternative quite simply because it is far too complicated owing to the many changes necessary. By air, total CO2 emissions including transfer will be about 900 kg of CO2 per person for the return trip. By bus the figure is 155 kg of CO2 and by car it is 174 kg of CO2 there and back. The car and bus are thus quite close to each other in terms of CO2 emissions. For the car I have based my calculations on 30% higher fuel consumption since the car will be heavily loaded and speed will be relatively high through Germany. If instead the car and its occupants take the overnight ferry from Göteborg to Kiel in order to cut down on driving, CO2 emissions actually go up by 43 kg to 217 kg of CO2/person.

The distance to the Swedish ski slopes is shorter. Stockholm to Åre is about 660 kilometres. With an overnight train from Stockholm, total CO2 emissions for the trip are about 2 kg and by car the figure is 46 kg of CO2. Travelling to Sälen by railway means changing trains several times just as in the case of the Alps, making the train an impractical alternative. On the other hand, there are several direct bus services from Stockholm. Sälen is just over 400 km from Stockholm. The bus ride from Stockholm to Sälen results in 34 kg of CO2 per person. For the same trip in a V70 DRIVe emissions of CO2 will total 28 kg. So the result is somewhat lower emissions of CO2 for a family travelling by car to the Swedish ski slopes compared to taking the bus.

That was a whole lot of statistics, so here is a simplified table showing the results.

To the Alps kg of CO2 return trip per person
Air 893
Bus 155
Car 174
Car + ferry 217

To the Swedish slopes

Åre by car 46
Åre by train 2
Sälen by bus 34
Sälen by car 28

As I said initially, it can be clearly seen that shorter trips are better than longer ones, and the train is better than the car, which in turn is better than flying. However, it is not always that the bus is a better choice than the car. These two transport modes are roughly equal if there are four occupants in the car.

Have a really great time on the slopes! If you are in Sälen, take the opportunity to try out Volvo’s skid-pan with a bit of that really exciting “Ice Racing” feel. It’s both fun and educational.

You can find out more about Volvo’s various offers in Sälen at

David Weiner, Volvo

Hi there, Johan Konnberg!

Johan Konnberg is the family’s coach and he will help them get under way with their electric car, a Volvo C30 Electric. He is responsible for the development of hybrid and electric cars at Volvo and he believes there will be a noticeable difference in the cars we see on the roads within the next five years, with a lot of electric cars in regular traffic.

Does it feel like the family got off to a good start with the car?
“Definitely. They’ve had a great kick-off, they’re really keen. After I showed them the car it only took a couple of hours before Alicja was out driving and later blogging about it!”

Have you always been interested in electric cars?
“I’ve worked with everything from strategy and product planning to engineering at Volvo, for almost 30 years now. For the past three years I’ve been responsible for the development of hybrids and electric cars. I applied for that department and I work primarily with business models. Purely emotively, hybrids and electric cars are definitely going to see a major upswing and I think that’s just great.”

When did development of the C30 Electric get under way?
“It began in 2009 – and we started from the ground up. There have been a variety of concept cars that Volvo has developed in previous years, running to a greater or lesser extent on electricity. We chose to tailor an already existing platform to an electric driveline and decided on the C30 since it is a typical commuter’s car. It is also our smallest and lightest model.”

What sort of performance does it offer?
“We have an electric motor that produces 110 horsepower mated to a reduction gear that reduces the 15,000-20,000 revs of the electric motor by a factor of ten so that the road wheels spin at a more suitable speed. There is also a large battery pack totalling 24 kWh installed in a “T”-shaped unit low down in the car, in the propshaft tunnel and where the fuel tank would normally be fitted. This gives a low centre of gravity, which is good for driveability and means that the batteries are well within the safety zone, protected from damage in the event of a collision. During our development work, it was important for us not to compromise on other important aspects such as safety, space, driveability and comfort. For the sake of comfort the car has a heater powered by ethanol, because it is otherwise difficult to produce heat in an electric car’s passenger compartment – an electric motor has a 90 percent efficiency rating so it does not produce much surplus heat for the passengers. If we took heat via the batteries, that would compromise the car’s operating range.”

How fast is the car?
“Top speed has been limited to 130 km/h. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h has been fixed at 10.5 seconds. When the batteries are fully charged, the electrons are fast, when the batteries are almost drained they are slow. If we didn’t fix the car’s acceleration at a specific rate, the result would be that the car would accelerate differently depending on battery charge status, and this would make progress unpredictable.”

How far can the car drive?
“The C30 has a theoretical range of 150 kilometres. But that’s in the laboratory. In practical on-road driving a more realistic figure is 100 to 120 km. The ultimate range depends on how you drive and a whole lot of other parameters, for instance whether the audio system and seat heaters are on, since they compete with the drive motor for battery power. Outside temperature also has an impact.”

How is the Volvo C30 Electric in competition with other electric cars?
“We believe it shapes up very well in competition with other electric cars. Everyone who has driven it exclaims “But this is a real car!” And that’s exactly what it is – you should feel at home with it, it shouldn’t feel different in any way, not as regards the way you drive and the feedback it gives you while driving. You shouldn’t have to compromise on anything. Add all this together and you’ve got a winner.”

When will we see this model in the showrooms?
“We’ll start to deliver cars for leasing after the 2011 summer vacation period. By the start of 2012, 250 cars will be on the roads in a number of locations in Sweden, and here we will be able to offer unique workshop servicing expertise to look after these cars. We’re talking about Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Helsingborg, Östersund, Umeå and Skellefteå. We are focusing primarily on companies, institutions and politicians who are interested in leasing a car for 3 years. After that we want the cars back here for evaluation. Among other things, we want to find out what happens with the batteries after three years. The cars will also become available on certain markets in Europe, and they will be demonstrated in the USA and Asia.”

What does the future look like for electric cars?
“I believe they’re here to stay. Battery technology is now so far advanced that it is possible to cover 120 to 150 kilometres in an electric car.”

When will electric cars become a common sight on Swedish roads?
“That depends a whole lot on the government, if they feel this is a good idea and provide subsidies for the electric car just like they did with the state green-car subsidy. On some European markets, buyers get a grant of 40,000 to 60,000 kronor for electric cars, and this makes them viable since they have such low operating costs. Within a 5-year period, you’re going to notice the presence of electric cars on the roads.”

How much progress have other countries made?
“Different countries have made different degrees of progress. President Obama wants to make the USA independent of imported oil so there is massive dollar investment in this technology in America. The USA has therefore come a good way in this respect. France relies totally on nuclear power for its electricity and wants to push its car industry in the direction of electric cars. Nothing is happening on other markets.

Webisode #3 “The Electric Car”

Transport’s eco-footprint

There are few products that arouse as much emotion as cars. There are very few people who do not have feelings on the subject of our cars – and some people have very strong feelings indeed on the subject. It’s an unavoidable fact that we need some form of transport in today’s society. Here at Volvo Cars, we know that the car will continue to play an important role in our lives in the future. The exciting challenge facing us is to reduce the environmental footprint of our cars.

So what exactly is the car situation in Sweden? There are 4.3 million cars on the roads here. According to national statistics agency SCB, Sweden’s cars cover an average of 14,540 km a year. In 2010, almost 290,000 new cars took to the roads. Of these, 51 % were diesels and 40 % were green cars. The average CO2 figure for the full year is not available at the time of writing but for the first half of 2010, the nation’s cars produced average CO2 emissions of 154 g CO2/km. This corresponds to about 5.9 litres of diesel per 100 km or 6.7 litres of petrol per 100 km. Over the past three years a lot has happened regarding the energy-efficiency of cars. For new models, emissions of carbon dioxide have been cut by 15 %.

How does the Lindell family measure up in this respect? They have been running two cars whose fuel consumption is pretty much average, and they cover virtually the average Swedish annual mileage. Of each family member’s CO2 emissions of just over 7.2 tonnes per person and year, the two cars account for 14 % of the total. That’s all. And that figure includes manufacture of the cars and their fuel consumption.

That is why things will become particularly interesting now that the Lindells have a Volvo C30 Electric that produces no carbon dioxide at all from the tailpipe – because there is no tailpipe. When they recharge the car with renewable electricity, the car’s environmental footprint per km will be very low. The Lindells will also have access to a Volvo Green Car Drive pool vehicle when they need more than one car or when the go on a journey that is longer than the electric car’s operating range. We are going to precisely monitor the family’s CO2 footprint for all their transport needs. And of course production of the car itself is included in our calculations. I will talk more about this later, as well as the way the various transport alternatives perform against each other. This spring, we here at Volvo, the Lindell family and hopefully you, the reader, will all gain plenty of fresh new insights.

David Weiner, Volvo

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