5.1.2012 Volvo unveils concept XC60 plug-in hybrid
At the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Volvo will unveil an innovative petrol plug-in hybrid, to follow their V60 diesel plug-in hybrid model confirmed for later this year.
The Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept is an electric car, an economical hybrid and a powerful high-performance car all rolled into one – the driver can switch between power sources at the touch of a button.
Volvo says that the technology that will be adopted will be state of the art and unlike that seen in other plug-in hybrid models to date. However, it will not been seen in showrooms for a couple of years, and likely to be available in the US first.
Like what we expect to see in Volvo's V60 plug-in hybrid model, three buttons will offer a choice between 'Pure', 'Hybrid' and 'Power' driving modes.
In Pure mode the car is powered solely by its electric motor as much as possible. The range according to the European certification driving cycle NEDC is 28 miles.
Hybrid mode is the standard setting whenever the car is started – the petrol engine and electric motor co-operate to provide maximum driving performance with minimum environmental impact. According to the NEDC, CO2 emissions are 53 g/km (2.3 l/100 km), over 100 mpg. The car has a total operating range of up to 600 miles.
In Power mode, the technology is optimised to create maximum possible power. The petrol engine with 280 hp and 380 Nm (280 lb/ft) is combined with the electric motor with 70 hp and 200 Nm (148 lb/ft). The four-cylinder turbocharged engine powers the front wheels whilst the electric motor powers the rear. The electric motor's instant torque delivery contributes to the car's acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds with a total of 350 hp, impressive considering the overall fuel efficiency.
Efficiency has been maximised in several ways. The new powertrains will be considerably lighter than existing ones translating into fuel economy improvements of around 35%, whilst returning similar performance statistics.
The engine in the XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept has no conventional starter motor or alternator. Instead, there is an Integrated Starter motor and Generator (ISG) connected to the crankshaft, which is located between the engine and the transmission. The ISG is capable of delivering an extra 34 kW (45 hp) during acceleration. It also charges the battery during braking.
A 12 kWh lithium ion battery supplies power to the electric motor, which can be recharged from a regular domestic power outlet – recharge time however will vary with current. In the UK, a full recharge is expected to take around 3.5 hours.
The Volvo Sensus online infotainment system will be integrated that informs the driver of the most efficient ways to complete a journey. It will relay real time information about the best routes to take in terms of speed or low energy consumption, Low Emission Zones and charging points on the way (including renewable and rapid charge facilities). Information about battery charge level and remaining electric car range are also presented.
The XC60 Plug-in Hybrid Concept offers an electric four-wheel drive option, which can be used as an alternative to the conventional four-wheel drive option to return better traction when pulling away and on slippery roads.
The driver can also choose to save battery power for later in order to drive on pure electricity later in, for example, an urban green zone or in the heart of a city. When Save is activated, the generator charges and tops up the battery pack if necessary. The aim is to ensure sufficient battery power for about 12 miles (20 km) of driving on electricity.
With a wealth of cutting edge powertrain technologies, this plug-in Volvo will be their most advanced yet, although we will have to wait a couple of year before anything will be in the showrooms.
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