Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Volvo Releases Photos and New Details on V60 Plug-in Diesel-Electric Hybrid

Last month, we told you about Volvo's plans to reveal an almost production-ready diesel-electric hybrid version of the V60 at the Geneva Salon in March. Today, the Swedish automaker released a full set of photos and additional information on its Plug-in Hybrid, which will be launched in the market in 2012.

Pegged as the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid, the eco-friendly V60 is the result of close co-operation between Volvo Cars and Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall, and it promises to offer low fuel consumption and CO2 levels, combined with long range and high performance.

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid's powertrain consists of a five-cylinder 2.4-litre D5 turbo diesel with 215 horsepower and maximum torque of 440 Nm that drives the front wheels, and a 70HP-strong electric motor that receives its juice from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and motivates the rear wheels. The car also features a six-speed automatic transmission.

The car's battery package can be recharged via a regular power socket (230V/6A, 10A or 16A), with the charging time depending on the level of the current. A full 10A charge takes 4.5 hours. The time is shortened to 3 hours with 16A, while a charge in a 6A socket takes 7.5 hours.

The driver can choose from three different modes via a set of push buttons on the center console: Pure, Hybrid and Power.

In Pure, the car runs only on its electric motor as much as possible, with the maximum driving range being up to 32 miles or 51 kilometers with zero emissions of carbon dioxide.

The Hybrid mode, which is the default setting whenever the car is started, makes use of both the diesel engine and electric motor. In this mode, V60 Plug-in Hybrid returns a fuel economy of up to 125 mpg US (equal to 150 mpg UK and 1.9 lt/100km) with CO2 emissions of just 49 g/km, and a total driving range of up to 746 miles or 1,200 kilometers.

Finally, in Power mode, the system is optimized to give the car the best possible performance, with the diesel engine and electric motor producing a combined power output of 215 + 70 horsepower and maximum torque of 440 + 200 Nm. According to Volvo, the station wagon model completes the 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in just 6.9 seconds.

In addition to the three driving modes, there's also an AWD button in the centre stack that activates electric four-wheel drive. In this case, the central control unit manages torque distribution to the diesel-driven front wheels and the electrically powered rear axle.

There are some subtle styling differences over the standard V60 such as the modified instrument panel that offers information about diesel and electricity consumption, battery charge level and remaining range, the restyled bumpers and the lightweight alloy wheels wrapped around in low rolling resistance Pirelli tires.

"The second-generation hybrid is the perfect choice for the uncompromising buyer who wants a superbly carbon dioxide-lean car packed with driving pleasure. To get drivers to think green, we have offered both, in one traditional genuine sports wagon" said Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.

"The technology is still undergoing development and testing, however, the car already points very clearly to what our customers can expect when the plug-in hybrid enters showrooms next year. What we've done is to spice it up with spearhead technology that allows the driver to choose: zero emissions, high-efficiency hybrid or full-on performance. Just select the mode that suits best," he added.

Volvo said that the added cost of the battery pack and the electric motor system means the plug-in hybrid will be more expensive to buy than a regular V60, but added that fuel costs are expected to be one-third of a conventional combustion engined V60. Pricing and market availability will be announced nearer the 2012 launch date

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