Volvo will unveil an almost production-ready diesel plug-in hybrid concept, based on the V60 estate, at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
The V60 Plug-in Hybrid will be powered by Volvo’s existing five-cylinder 2.4 litre D5 turbodiesel engine and an electric motor. It can produce 281bhp and 472lb ft of torque (pulling power); both outputs are significantly higher than the conventional unit.
In spite of this, the claimed efficiency and emissions figures are truly astonishing for a spacious estate.
Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: three-mode drive
Volvo describes the V60 Plug-in Hybrid as three cars in one, capable of switching between Pure, Hybrid and Power modes at the press of a button.
Pure sees it function as an electric vehicle as much as possible. Using its on-board lithium ion battery pack, the V60 can travel up to 32 miles on electric power alone – and since it’s a plug-in hybrid, the battery pack can be charged via a standard power socket.
Hybrid is the default mode. This uses both the diesel engine – which drives the front wheels in a conventional manner via a six-speed automatic gearbox – and the electric motor. For this system, Volvo has chosen a 69bhp Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD), which like Peugeot’s Hybrid4 system, operates on the rear wheels only, simplifying the integration.
Power mode, meanwhile, maximises performance. The full combined power and torque output are deployed, creating an environmentally friendly four-wheel drive Volvo estate capable of 62mph in just 6.9 seconds.
Find out more about diesel hybrid cars here
49g/km CO2, 150mpg…
Volvo claims the V60 Plug-in Hybrid will emit just 49g/km of CO2, with fuel economy of up to 150mpg.
Total range is quoted as up to 746 miles, while in real world usage Volvo expects the Plug-in Hybrid’s fuel consumption to be around a third of a conventional V60 turbodiesel.
This will help compensate for the inevitably higher purchase price of the Plug-in Hybrid – battery packs and ERADs aren’t cheap. Volvo will confirm the actual cost nearer the on-sale date in 2012.
As you would expect from Volvo, the company is taking hybrid safety very seriously.
Jan Ivarsson, Senior Safety Manager at Volvo Cars said: ‘We apply the same high safety standards to all our products, but the safety-related challenges may differ depending on the driveline. To us, electric technology is another exciting challenge in our quest to build the safest cars on the market.’
These challenges include additional weight, the need for additional systems to monitor the additional components, and safety during and after a collision.
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