The Cars That Money Can’t Buy – Volvo ECC

Sun 2nd Jun 2019

Sometimes your wallet won’t stretch to purchasing your dream motor. But don’t worry too much, there are some cars that even the biggest bank balances can’t buy, the dream cars that will forever remain a dream. These are the concept cars that never go into production.

Volvo ECC
Volvo’s commitment to safety and the environment may be grabbing headlines as we enter an EV revolution, but the origins of a greener motoring future can be traced all the way back to 1992 when the Swedish company launched the Environmental Concept Car (ECC).

Created using recycled material and powered by an electric and gas turbine engine, the ECC also came with an ultra-light aluminium body, an ergonomically designed interior, extreme collision safety and even a precursor of satellite navigation called the Dynaguide, which gave the driver up to the minute traffic information via display in the instrument panel.

Designed by Peter Horbury, the ECC would go on to provide huge inspiration to the Volvo S80, which was a major success for the Swedish company through the 90s and early part of the last decade.

With broad haunches and a v-shaped bonnet, this was a concept that had an eye on the company’s rich heritage, as well as a focus on the future. In addition to it’s eco-friendly engine performance, it performed equally well on drag-coefficient scoring a low 0.23.

Like most early EV’s this wasn’t a powerful vehicle, taking 23 seconds to go from 0-60 in EV mode and even with the gas turbine engaged it took a sluggish 12.5 seconds to reach 60mph. A top speed of 109 mph was recorded, though hitting that limit would have seriously limited its published range of 90mph.

Volvo’s ECC looked to have heralded a brave new era of EV car design, coinciding with the US state of California announcing plans for Zero Pollution Vehicles. However, due to the gas turbine, the ECC would not pass the strict zero-emissions laws and it would take the arrival of hybrid technology and a more relaxed view on a combination of engine power which saw the ECC’s brought back to life. A true pioneer and one which inspired Volvo to its place at the heart of EV reality today.